I was reasonably quiet at work this morning so stepped out for an hour to see Ai Weiwei’s small exhibition at the Lisson Gallery near Edgware Road, he really does have a lot of work on show in London right now. I only saw half the exhibition but it was the half that I wanted to see most.
This collection of vases are actually Chinese antiques of the Han Dynasty (200DC-220AD, each dipped twice in industrial paint. I had been longing to see these for ages yet was surprised when I actually saw them. The paint cheapens the vases far more than I had expected; each has become quite an ugly object individually, despite the overall collection appearing colourfully attractive. I guess political statements of this kind, directed at the Chinese authorities’ destruction of cultural and historical values during the cultural revolution, are the partial cause for the artist’s disappearance.
“Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo, and to seek new potential” Ai Weiwei
The exterior walls of the gallery is pasted with posters of support to the (still) missing artist. Coincidentally, while I was photographing the gallery, a Chinese couple walked past screaming hard at each other (see them in the final photograph). Disagreements in the Chinese community spread far and wide…