Ai Weiwei: The art in defense of human rights!

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“The conceptual” by Beatrice Brandini

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Ai Weiwei “LIBERO”

Florence, until 22 January 2017, houses the first major retrospective of the most celebrated and discussed Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei.

The exhibition, curated by Arturo Galansino, by the title, “LIBERO”, shows all its intentions. In the facade of one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, to Strozzi Palace (seat of the exhibition), 22 red rubber boats form an installation, they want to sue, remember (maybe shake the conscience), migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach the Europe.

We have seen how, over the centuries, the art always find a way to say things (indeed often anticipates); it does monumentally, often provocatively (by Manzoni to Fontana, but also Giotto and Cimabue with their revolutionary perspective), sometimes softly. The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has found a completely spontaneous way and for this incisive, Ai Weiwei message is hilarious and cruel at the same time, just explicit and full of anger. The exhibition Florentine, in his Renaissance mansion par excellence, welcomes him totally, externally, internally and secretly (in Strozzina). You will see installations, sculptures, objects, videos and photographs. The whole universe of this multi-talented (and political) artist, already exhibited in major museums around the world. But here, in the Palazzo Strozzi, it will be an unusual way to know and appreciate him. A magnificent fusion of tradition and modernity.

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“Reframe”, strong and playful installation, reflection on the tragedy of the refugees.

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View of the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi

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Refraction”, a wing built with solar panels lying on the ground. Claustrophobia and sharp contours, a symbol of imprisonment to which he was subjected Ai Weiwei.

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“Refraction”, installation by Ai Weiwei

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“Refraction”, installation by Ai Weiwei

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“Forever”, bicycle maze, evidence of crowding in the chaotic Chinese roads, but often only means of transportation and thus a symbol of “freedom.” Quote of the “Bicycle Wheel”, Duchamp’s ready-mades, a reference point for the artistic education of Weiwei.

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“Snake Bag”.

For me the work most moving and exciting. Through 360 school backpacks, the artist wants to remember the terrible earthquake of 2008 in Sichuan, where seventy thousand people died, many of them students, trapped under the rubble of buildings (and schools) built with substandard materials. sadly the current topic even for our “poor” Italy. Still half, the artistic one, to denounce.

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RENAISSANCE, reinterpretation of the Italian Renaissance by Ai Weiwei LEGO portraits dedicated to four characters of the past who suffered deprivation of liberty for their ideas. Dante, the exiled for excellence in Italian literary history, and Filippo Strozzi, banned for decades by the Medici …; when I come back he built the palace which houses the exhibition (what a joke!)

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Galileo and Girolamo Savonarola, the first imprisoned and prosecuted for defending their ideas, the second executed for opposition to the Medici regime and the Church of Pope Borgia.

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Vases”, these are “Han Dynasty Vases with Auto Paint”, antique vases dipped in paint to the bodywork, willingness to cancel their historical and cultural value, just as the Chinese government with the Cultural Revolution.

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Han Dynasty Urn, controversial and famous 1995 performance, in which the artist destroys ancient funerary urn, here still played with LEGO bricks. The boldness of the gesture and the imperturbability in the face of the artist, want to highlight and denounce the same indifference when it was destroyed the historical heritage of the country, China.

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The Wave

Merger of references in Chinese history, past and present. This work reminds those of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) in which the water is recurrent representation, but also clear the quote with the famous Hokusai Wave.

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MYTHOLOGIES.

Magnificent room dedicated to the figures of Chinese culture. The silk and bamboo figures are inspired Shanhaijing (Classic of Mountains and Seas), geography text of over two thousand years, that Ai Weiwei could not read as a child. This is Feiyu the flying fish.

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MYTHOLOGIES

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MYTHOLOGIES

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MYTHOLOGIES

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Study of Perspective

It’s of 1995, the first series of photographs Study of Perspective set in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. All the photographs in this room have in common the artist’s arm raised with the middle finger raised, always in front of monumental monuments, symbol of power. A “rude gesture” ahead of untouchable sites like the White House or the Mona Lisa. A very provocative act that would lead the observer to no longer be “subjugated ‘by institutions, governments or culture. Also the wallpaper of these rooms (Finger), on which are hung the photographs, the bride this concept, obsessively playing the same gesture.

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Study of Perspective

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Particular of wallpaper

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Installation by Ai Weiwei. 1,500 porcelain crab stacked to remember the presence of these crustaceans traditional Chinese iconography.

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Souvenir from Shanghai

In 2008, Ai Weiwei was invited by Shanghai authorities to build a studio in Malu Town. When the study is completed, in 2010, the same government, because of the artist’s political, it states that it was built without the necessary permits and gives the order to demolish it …. Through Internet Ai Weiwei invites many people to participate the party of 7 November which is the celebration of the end of the work, but at the same time (same day), its demolition. To prevent him from attending the party is put under house arrest. In 2011 the study was razed to the ground without warning, the artist manages to save parts of the building, which it uses to create this work.

The greatness of this artist is in making us reflect with representations and images, solutions and materials “POP”, but they hide behind atrocious testimonies (imprisonment, persecution, trafficking of organs …). Nothing is random, nothing is foolish in the work of Ai Weiwei.

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Ai Weiwei statements

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Circle of animals / Zodiac Heads, Monkey The artist wanted to mention that 2016 is the year of the Monkey, unstable sign par excellence

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Work of Ai Weiwei

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Ai Weiwei, hangers that make up a star. Everyday objects become works of art. The only objects that the artist (the man) had with him during the 81 days of captivity

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LE GUN

In 2014 Ai Weiwei placed on Instagram a picture in which cradling his leg as if it were a gun, accompanying the image with the words “Beijing Anti-Terrorism Series”. The gesture became viral and has been taken up by thousands of followers, politically, artistically and ironically.

 

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LE GUN

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LE GUN

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LE GUN

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LE GUN

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LE GUN

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LE GUN

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LE GUN

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SELFIE

In 2005, Ai Weiwei opens to a new form of expression, that of blogs on the Internet. The blog becomes a great platform to express his ideas on art, culture and politics. Within a short blog reaches one hundred thousand hits a day when the complaint becomes more explicit and harsh against the government, the blog is obscured. “I think that art will not have any kind of future if it fails to adapt to technologies and to life today.” Ai Weiwei

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I do not like selfies, but for Ai Weiwei could even dress up as the tooth fairy. The mirror with its screen-printed image, has somewhat shortened the distances, projecting the artist in our midst and especially letting us hear ONE OF US.

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Chinese aesthetics of Beatrice Brandini

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Beautiful statement (and true!)

Ai Weiwei has dedicated his life to denounce the suppression and inequality, especially struggling for freedom. Man is born free and freedom is willing to fight hard, if it means sacrificing his own life. You can not live oppressed (or repressed) and Ai Weiwei aware. We love his work not only for objective creativity, but also for his courage, to remember in every part of the world, to every class or political leader, that we are all free, and that the power of truth is always stronger than any lie or weapon.

Good life to everyone!

Beatrice

 

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