Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy
Last weekend, we went along to the brilliant artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Royal Academy, thanks to the Fever Culture Vulture programme – a scheme we have which helps us all to get out and about, experiencing the events of this cool city we live and work in.
Ai Wei Wei’s incredibly unique experience of suppression and what seems to have been a lifetime of conflict and tension with his homeland China has fed directly into his incredible catalogue of thought-provoking art.
Dominating one of the galleries is ‘Straight’ (2008-12), made from rods of steel reinforcing bars which Ai and his team had recovered from the site of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Every single rod, amassing to 150 tonnes, was straightened out and laid out in a landscape. Accompanying this painstakingly salvaged mass of steel are the names of 5,000 children who perished in the 2008 disaster.
Another stand out piece is called ‘SACRED’ (2012-13), which consists of 6 large steel boxes with viewpoints into scenes Ai Weiwei experienced during his 81 days in detention. Mundane daily actions warped into tense and relentless scenes as two guards stood constant watch with persistent fluorescent lights blazing 24 hours.
Ai Weiwei’s exhibition is on until 13th December, and you can buy tickets here – we’d really recommend it.