Ai Weiwei has caused a confused reaction from the fashion world after he responded to the request to photograph a series of designs for publication. When V Magazine asked the artist to photograph fourteen outfits for a fashion editorial, Ai decided – perhaps predictably – to pour paint all over the finely tailored garments created by a number of designers – reports the Washington Post.
The reaction from the fashion word, and the creators formed into a Ai Weiwei work of art, told the Washington Post: “I don’t know if it’s sad or positive that he decided to do the project this way,” adding that the editorial “raises questions.” the designer concluded that “you can come up with your own understanding of it.”
The resulting paint-strewn garments created by the artist’s foray into fashion photography is not really surprising to anyone who has followed the artist’s practice. The artist and political activist has famously covered a Neolithic Age-vase with paint. For an installation started in 2003; Weiwei dripped and ran uniform colours from commercially manufactured paints over hand-made, biscuit-fired Neolithic urns- dated from 5,000–3,000 BC. It was stated that by doing so the artist had placed the traditional form of pottery, with dripping or running glazes, and the expressionless quality of industrially manufactured products into a new relationship of contradiction, coexistence, and accommodation. Perhaps Weiwei considered he had done the same to the designers work.
The dissident artist and political activist in notorious for his thinly veiled criticisms of China’s totalitarian regime. In the past the Chinese government has arrested the artist, In 21 June 2012, Weiwei’s bail was lifted. Although the artist is allowed to leave Beijing, the police informed him that he is still prohibited from traveling to other countries because he is “suspected of other crimes,” including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency. Even now the artist remains under heavy surveillance and restrictions of movement, but continues to criticise the Chinese government through his work.