A major new project by Ai Weiwei debuts at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria
A major new and innovative project by Ai Weiwei is currently on view as part of the exhibition Ai Weiwei – Art/Architecture, at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria. In development for the past three years, Ai Weiwei House is a series of modular structures that interpret the idea of a freestanding residential building as a work of art. Conceived as the contemporary version of a “gesamtkunstwerk”—a total work of art—Ai Weiwei House is part of a lineage of fully designed environments by such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Paolo Soleri and Gerrit Rietveld. As such, not only the buildings but all aspects of the interiors—furnishings, textiles, ceramics, surface materials and flooring—are conceived by Ai Weiwei together with recognised experts in various fields. Fully integrated in thought and design, Ai Weiwei House originates in a philosophical perspective expressed in drawings, sculpture, objects, and architecture. In the pro cess, Ai’s conceptual and aesthetic considerations emerge as elements of design:his vision reflected in the objects of everyday life. For the artist, the act of bringing independent pieces together to create a larger whole is the gesture that animates the formal object—the structure and its contents—and turns it into a home.
In many ways deeply political, Ai Weiwei’s work explores the tension in ideology, what he describes “as being between a more interesting state of mind and a more dreadful state of mind. The artist should be for the interesting against the dreadful.” Using a variety of formal languages with both traditional and innovative methods of production, Ai links the past with the present and explores the geopolitical, economic and cultural realities affecting the world with humour and compassion. Described as “the best artist to have appeared since the Cultural Revolution in China” , his work can be seen as a succession of gestures critiquing both commodity fetishism and the society in which he lives.
Among numerous international projects planned for next year are exhibitions of Ai’s photographic works at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, and his architectural projects at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria. Utill 16 October