Art & denunciation by the river... (Part I)


29/01/18 - Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei (1957) has come to Buenos Aires with an exhibition that shows his rejection of China’s government and the dramatic situation of the refugees around the world.

In the past couple of years Weiwei has become the most renowned artist to document the movement of millions of desperate souls as they cross the borders in search for a better life. This migration and his bitterness towards his birthplace are the main subjects of his artworks. But in spite of the depth of these issues, the pieces on display are aesthetically moving and a very poetic atmosphere can be felt as we walk the rooms.
The exhibition is being held at PROA and it’s called “Inoculation”, a term proposed by curator,Marcelo Dantas because of the latin etymology of the word: “in your eyes”, a new look on the present.
By the entrance the “Forever" Bicycles, an outdoor intervention, hints a very different type of exhibition.  The most popular means of transport in China, is a true obsession to Weiwei, which he blends with his admiration for Marcel Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel. Considering Weiwei a denunciation artist, the bicycles represent his criticism to massive industrial production in China. The installation at PROA's entrance was made with 1256 bikes placed in never-ending perspective. The structure, which calls for a selfie, is pure movement and has not one welding.
“Forever” Bicycles, by Ai Weiwei (2017)
Material: stainless steel - PROA, Buenos Aires
Although we've been to many Weiwei exhibitions around the world, this one has some new and interesting pieces. For example, a 16 mts inflatable boat with 51 inflatable figures on board emulating anonymous refugees. The room is also decorated with a wallpaper that refers to Homer's Odyssey, which is what the refugees have to endure. The images in the wallpaper belong to the battles depicted in antique Greek vases, but the designs have been updated with photos of Weiwei himself or images related to the subject taken from the web. The artwork combines thus past and present, connecting two different periods of time. 

Law of the Journey (Prototype B), by Ai Weiwei (2016)
Material: inflatable PVC, 1 boat, 51 figures / Measures: 300 x 1600 x 560 cm

Odyssey, by Ai Weiwei (2016)
Technique: wallpaper - digital print
(To be continued...)

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Liliana Wrobel

Production & Translation

Carla Mitrani