Out of sync

ART IN FOCUS

Ai Weiwei   Ruptures

An exclusive tour of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's exhibition "Ruptures" at Faurschou Foundation Copenhagen. Ai Weiwei decided to close ”Ruptures” before scheduled. This decision followed the Danish parliament’s approval of the law proposal that allows seizing valuables and delaying family reunions for asylum seekers.

Gallerist Jens Faurschou backs the artist’s decision and regrets that the Danish parliament choses to be in the forefront of symbolic and inhuman politics of todays biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe and the Middle East, instead of being in the forefront of a respectful European solution to solve the acute humanitarian crisis.


BELOW EXTRACT FROM THE GUARDIAN The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has closed down his exhibition in Copenhagen in protest at a new law that allows Danish authorities to seize valuables from asylum seekers.

The 58-year-old, who is currently on the Greek island of Lesbos undertaking research on Europe’s refugee crisis, told the Guardian: “My moments with refugees in the past months have been intense. I see thousands come daily, children, babies, pregnant women, old ladies, a young boy with one arm.

“They come with nothing, barefoot, in such cold, they have to walk across the rocky beach. Then you have this news; it made me feel very angry.

“The way I can protest is that I can withdraw my works from that country. It is very simple, very symbolic – I cannot co-exist, I cannot stand in front of these people, and see these policies. It is a personal act, very simple; an artist trying not just to watch events but to act, and I made this decision spontaneously.”


BELOW TEXT FROM FAURSCHOU FOUNDATION'S PRESS RELEASE INTRODUCING THE EXHIBITION

Faurschou Foundation’s major exhibition in 2015 featured the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957). Over the past few years, as the title Ruptures indicates, Ai Weiwei’s life and artistic work have been marked a great deal by interruptions and upheavals, not least because of his forthright criticism of the Chinese regime, and the authorities’ subsequent detention of him for 81 days in 2011, followed by house arrest. This has made Ai Weiwei’s name known far beyond the art world.

Ai Weiwei’s works deals with Chinese history and contemporary society and includes physical artworks, social activities, curatorial projects, film, design and architecture. By using his art and actions as forms of intervention, Ai Weiwei seeks to affect social change in China. He expresses himself in a distinct and simple formal idiom, combing traditional Chinese materials and craftsmanship with his own personal history.

The exhibition at Faurschou Foundation presented some of the main works that have cemented Ai Weiwei’s position as one of the world’s most significant artists, including Sunflower Seeds, a smaller version of his major site-specific installation at Tate Modern in the Turbine Hall in 2010, con­sis­ting of 100 million hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds.

Another important work that has both visual strength and critical content is the large installation Straight (2008-12). The work con­sists of 73 tons of steel reinforcement that Ai Weiwei found crumpled up among the rubble after the earthquake in Sichuan, and then had transported to his workshop in Beijing, where assistants have meticulously hammered the bars straight again.

The exhibition also showed several of Ai Weiwei’s sculptures made of wood from some of the Buddhist temples that were torn down during the Cultural Revolution, and his iconoclastic work with antique vases several thousand years old. Finally, the exhibition includes photos from the period 1983-1993 taken by Ai Weiwei when he was living in New York.

As an artist Ai Weiwei attracted international attention in earnest in 2007 when he mounted a large-scale performance and sent 1001 Chinese who had never before been outside China and there­fore had no passport, to Documenta in Kassel. Ai Weiwei himself has had his passport withdrawn since his detention in 2011, and thus cannot leave China. All the same he has continued with his arti­s­tic and activist work and follows his many exhibitions all over the world on line. Most recently he has edited a film for the Berlinale on Skype from his studio in Beijing, and in February, via a video link, participated in a conference on freedom of expression in New York.

In recent years Ai Weiwei has had major exhibitions at among other places the Mori Art Museum, Japan; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, USA; the Brooklyn Museum, USA; Martin Gropius Bau, Germany; and most recently on the prison island Alcatraz in the USA. In the autumn the Royal Academy of Art in London is holding a large retrospective exhibition of Ai Weiwei. He has earlier had solo exhibitions in Denmark at Galleri Faurschou in 2010 and at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 2011.


Faurschou Foundation is a privately owned art institution with a collection of contemporary art of the highest international class, with exhibition venues at Copenhagen North Harbour as well as Beijing’s attractive art neighbourhood 798. Faurschou Foundation introduces the visitors to some of the world’s most acclaimed artists. Faurschou Foundation’s collection is constantly developed and expanded.

Over a very short period since its establishment in 2011 Faurschou Foundation has profiled itself as a significant art institution with solo exhibitions of among other artists Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang, Louise Bourgeois, Shirin Neshat, Gabriel Orozco, Danh Vo, and Bill Viola.


CREDITS

WeiWei's Ruptures | filmed by Out of Sync | Copenhagen July 2015
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Ai Weiwei | Faurschou Foundation

© Out of Sync 2016
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