A HELL OF A RIDE // 21st January 2013
For his first exhibition at Galleria Continua in Tuscany (Italy), artist Ai Weiwei has created an installation made of 760 bicycles stacked on top of each other. The Chinese attached together hundreds of bicycles creating a massive architectural structure that can be physically explored. The exhibition consisting of several other sculptures, photographs and videos by the activist artist will be on view until February 16 2013.
In the 1990s, Ai Weiwei began to work on the decontextualization and reconfiguration of ancient furniture, creating a series of works that became a distinctive feature of his output. Using tables and architectural elements dating to the Ming and Qing dynasties, a legacy of the sophisticated Chinese craft tradition, the artist started a process of deconstruction and assemblage, adopting the ancient, and now largely forgotten, assembly technique of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The object, stripped of its original use, acquires new form and new significance. More recent works are articulated in architectural forms that are closer to solid geometry, from the cube to Platonic solids.
Born in Beijing in 1957, Ai Weiwei moved to New York in 1981, but went back in 1993 to Beijing where he still lives and works. His works have been shown around the world, in group and solo exhibitions in different institutions such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., and the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, in 2012; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Somerset House, London, the Kunsthaus, Bregenz, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, the Asia Society, New York, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, and the Pulitzer Fountain, New York, in 2011; Stiftung DKM, Duisburg, the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, the Arcadia University Gallery, Glenside, and the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, in 2010; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and the Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, in 2009; the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Cambelltown Arts Center, Sydney, and the Groninger Museum, Groningen, in 2008. Collective shows to which he has contributed include the São Paulo Biennial and the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010; Documenta 12 at Kassel and an exhibition at Tate Liverpool in 2007.