Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ai Weiwei, April 30- June 4, 2011, NEUGERRIEMSCHNEIDER, Berlin, Linienstraße 155, 10115, DE by craniv boyd.

Ai Weiwei, April 30- June 4, 2011, NEUGERRIEMSCHNEIDER, Berlin, Linienstraße 155, 10115, DE by craniv boyd.


Where is Ai Weiwei? Asks the large black and white cloth banner hanging from the wall of a post industrial mixed use yellow brick building in central Berlin City, the answer may still possibly be, at the moment of writing this, regrettably: Wasting in a Chinese Prison.


On April third, we are informed that Ai Weiwei, an artist whose personal Blog about art was recently published in book format by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, was detained by Chinese authorities, the banner with the simple query that for the contemporary art uninitiated bears little in clues for frame of reference, hangs in conjunction with the Ai Weiwei's current solo exhibition at his Berlin art dealership, Neu Gerriemschneider. 


The work in the exhibition is of a high production value, big sculpture, the current work on view is the mature culmination of that of a 1990's biennial conceptualist who photographed himself giving the bird to selected monuments and iconic buildings that represent more or less national power for instance the Tour Eiffel or the White House, to name two instances in that photographic series, which is a sophomoric step away from the painting Ai Weiwei made during the 1980's New York, Weiwei's photograph with poet Allen Ginsberg accompanies photographic documentation  of early 80-s painted work of Weiwei, in the numerous catalogues dedicated to promoting the works and exhibitions of post 80's onwards Ai Weiwei.


Trees made from desiccated wooden logs bolted together with industrial strength, rusted nuts, bolts, and washers. These dead tree Frankenstein sculptures tower over people standing tall at the full height of the pitched ceiling of Neu Gerriemschneiders main, white rectangle presentation space, I guess about four to five meters at times seeing as the branches of Weiwei's works are at irregular heights. Contrasted with the texture of splintering logs free standing on a black gallery floor are organic irregularly shaped blue and white ceramic pedestal like objects that inhabiting a space between that of rocks or stacks of plates populate the floor adding a bright and abstract contained landscape architecture vibration to the room.


Ai Weiwei's work seen now feels truly Chinese if I may be so bold as to hazard such an assumption, for his work although fabricated in the Era of the Peoples Republic of China, has common threads with the art made in Han, Sung, Tong, or Quing dynasties. The choice of materials, glazed ceramic for instance although may strike some as decorative, remain tactile and strive resolutely at two opposite tendencies, that of traditionalism, and that of the current, we have the region focus of East Asian art, and Ai Weiwei's celebration and utilization of it, in service of creating a relevant current dignified broad art from a worldly author who hails from China, the republic that somehow now tragically imprisons him. by craniv boyd.     

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