Ai Weiwei – The Unilever Series




Sunflower Seeds is made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. However realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain. 

Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape. 

Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today.

Update: Tuesday 19 October 2010 

The installation is currently viewable from ground level and the bridge of the Turbine Hall. Revisit this page for updates.

Although porcelain is very robust, we have been advised that the interaction of visitors with the sculpture can cause dust which could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time. In consequence, Tate, in consultation with the artist, has decided not to allow members of the public to walk across the sculpture. Photo: ©  Matthew Miles

Duration 12 October 2010 - 02 May 2011
Times Sunday – Thursday, 10.00–18.00 Friday – Saturday, 10.00–22.00
Cost Free
Venue Tate Modern
Address Bankside London SE1 9TG, ,
Contact / / www.tate.org.uk/modern

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