Friday, 2 December 2011

Ai Weiwei: Vandal?

By L. Stewart

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist whose works frequently involve ceramics. His destruction of ancient pieces raises questions about authenticity and value while engaging with Chinese history. When considering his body of work and the questions he raises, does his unique form of destruction make him a vandal? If it does, does the term necessarily hold a negative connotation?
Target audience: This poster is designed for an academic audience in a conference setting, ideally regarding modern or non-Western art.
L. Stewart will comment on her ideas and on why she decided to pursue this topic below.

1 comment:

  1. I found myself drawn to Ai Weiwei for a variety of reasons. For one, he has become a figure of international renown in the past few years, first for the Birds' Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics, then for his highly controversial blog and now for his arrest on "tax evasion". I was interested in how he speaks out against communism with his art, and what he strives to teach people by destroying parts of his own culture. There is also an air of mystery about him--he answers coyly when asked if the vessels are "real", and indicates that he doesn't buy into our systems of values. Overall, he has made me question how I look at all art, not just ancient objects or modern art, and I wanted to present this aspect of deliberate destruction. I tried to be as impartial as possible when presenting the different ways of thinking about his work; I did not want to make up the viewer's mind for them, or to bias their thoughts with my ideas. Instead I want them to draw their own conclusions: is Ai Weiwei a vandal? And even if he is, is that really a bad thing in this case?


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