Ai Weiwei in Los Angeles: Life Cycle
We recently had the chance to see Ai Weiwei’s first institutional exhibition in Los Angeles featuring new work, Life Cycle- it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area…
An artist and activist, Ai Weiwei has been a key figure in the international dialogue regarding human rights and associated cultural and social issues, with his work incorporating elements of art, architecture, tradition and craft in the context of contemporary installations.
The exhibition, at Marciano Art Foundation, includes several works from the past decade and utilizes materiality, texture and scale to illustrate critical social commentary.
The first installation is Sunflower Seeds (2010) - an expansive bed of handmade porcelain sunflower seeds occupying a 4,000 square foot rectangle in the main gallery.
Nearby, Spouts (2015) is a similar installation, displaying thousands of broken antique teapots.
Life Cycle (2018) is the most recent of Ai Weiwei’s work and addresses the international refugee crisis through the representation of a boat crafted from bamboo using traditional techniques. Surrounding the sculpture are works from Windows (2015) and Shanhaijng (2015), a series of suspended bamboo and silk figures referencing Chinese mythology.
“Ai Weiwei (b. 1957 in Beijing; lives and works in Berlin) is widely recognized around the globe for his conceptual installations that catalyze dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production. Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle, the culmination of ten years of effort, features work related to the artist’s diverse interests including mass production, antiquity, mythology, and the global refugee crisis.” (via)