Ai Weiwei is back in London. This time on a much smaller scale than his last pieces presented at the Tate Modern or his Imperial fountain at Somerset House. In fact his new piece is so small it can be kept inside a small white box, 40cm x 40cm x 40cm. Although there are no sunflower seeds in sight, this is a complimentary look at the smaller things in life.
Mr. Ai’s new exhibition is opening at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery today (27 April) and features a carefully chosen ‘Ferocactus’ variety of cactus chosen by the artist himself and a small ‘River Crab’. The river crab is, according to the galleries press release, a homonym for harmony, as well as censorship in China. The title of the piece is ‘A Living Sculpture’ and contributes a great deal to the discussion surrounding Weiwei’s inability to leave China based on his apparent violation according to the Chinese government with regard to “economic crimes”. This exhibition perfectly details WeiWei’s apparent fascination with both the macro and the micro duality he incorporates as a driving force in his work.
The Pippy Houldsworth Gallery was designed by renowned architect and designer Simon Dance Design. The corporation has additionally worked on a range of global designs including the award winning Louise Blouin Foundation which accentuates perspectives of the skyline in London and promotes the reuse and development of decaying urban sites. In addition, Simon Dance is linked with Garage, the Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, which just today unveiled major plans for reconstruction and development at their new location in Gorky Park under the design firm of Rem Koolhaas.
Not only is Weiwei working on a smaller scale, the gallery space is amoebic in comparison to the Turbine Hall enclosed at the Tate Modern in which WeiWei displayed his last installation. It’s a refreshing space for WeiWei to engage with his audience at a more intimate level. ‘The Box’ as it is referred to at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery instantly draws the viewer into a personal experience within a larger gallery space. It exists as an eye catching chance to engage in a personal way with the minute thoughts of the artist displaying their work.
The galleries mission is to promote the work of established artists including Weiwei, most recently, and also very importantly, to encourage exceptional up and coming artists to show along side the giants in their field. Other upcoming exhibitions include paintings by Paul Winstanley . Weiwei’s latest work is on display now and will be showing until the 26th May, 2012 at their central London location. Words: Portia Pettersen photograph © Ai Weiwei studio 2012
AI WEIWEI A Living Sculpture, The Box, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery 27April – 26 May 2012 Visit Exhibition