In regards to the theme of our exhibition the route of transportation and attendant circumstances of the translocation of Ai Weiwei’s works are of great importance. Therefore we document, survey and illustrate these transitions.
Ai Weiwei on the exhibition
The artist talks about the ideas behind the concept of Ai Weiwei: translocation – transformation. He gives background information on the Wang Family Ancestral Hall and points out parallels of this structure with the 21er Haus.
Setting up “F-Lotus”
Ai Weiwei created this site-specific work involving more than 1000 life vests in response to the refugee crises. We asked volunteers from several NGOs about their thoughts, memories and feelings.
The works of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei express his critical approach to the history, culture, and politics of his country and subtly reflect his own life story. Complex intersections of past and present heighten the fascination of the installation Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads that he will install by the large water basin on the south side of the Belvedere. In these twelve bronze heads from the Chinese zodiac the artist addresses the ransacking of the fountain at the summer palace Yuanming Yuan in Beijing by French and British troops in 1860. This wanton act of destruction and pillaging was a bitter humiliation for the people of China and marked the end of the Second Opium War. With military force the British and French had coerced China to accept their opium import which was crucial for their sourcing of money to buy tea, porcelain and silk. Built in 1749 the imperial retreat had been inspired by European baroque architecture making Prince Eugene’s Palace an even more intriguing backdrop to Weiwei’s work.
translocation – transformation
is on view from 14 July to 20 November at the 21er Haus, Vienna.
Setting up “Lu”
Athens / Attic Moon Restaurant / Greece – Translocation
May 19, 2016
It fascinates me to observe the public Ai Weiwei, who patiently joins in on selfies and shakes hands with hundreds of strangers at events like the opening of his show at the Cycladic Art Museum. Yet I particularly cherish the moments we get to spend one-on-one or together with just one or two members of his staff, like last time in Lausanne. In these moments we get to know each other, share ideas and talk about the exhibition. And sometimes chance situations, like the encounter with two Chinese travelers in the Attic Moon Restaurant, enrich these meetings and give our conversations new input.
Athens / Cycladic Art Museum / Greece – Transformation
May 19, 2016
I had accepted Ai Weiwei’s invitation to the opening of his show at the Cycladic Art Museum in Athens. Some old works and a fascinating new piece awaited me.
The 21er Haus
The 21er Haus is a place of artistic production, reception, and reflection. Interdisciplinary and analytical, its exhibitions focus on Austrian art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, placed in an international context. In addition to temporary solo and group shows, the Belvedere’s collection of contemporary art is shown in displays on the first floor, providing a further starting point for research and exhibitions. There is also a programme with film screenings, lectures, performances, and artist talks to encourage dialogue with the public. The 21er Haus is a place of both art historical and artistic research – a place of discourse, dissent, and experiment in which society is questioned and rediscovered.