Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Martin-Gropius-Bau: "Evidence", Ai Weiwei

"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance

This mornin' (thanks to my new post at lovely Artconnect Berlin) I was lucky enough to attend the press conference and preview of Berlin's most anticipated Ausstellung [exhibition] of the moment: "Evidence", by Ai Weiwei. Barred from leaving his native China owing to state passport seizure, the subversive artist's presence remained tangible in his caustic, powerful and outright thought-provoking show.  

"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance

Running from April 3 to July 7 at Martin-Gropius-Bau, "Evidence" is Weiwei's largest solo expo to date. Each of the 18 rooms occupied (3,000 sqm in total) exemplify his use of conceptual art for expressive and dissident means within China's authoritarian state. The works are ironic, political, sincere. They call for transparency and truth in a society where corruption is rife. From a Western perspective, it's an illuminating, all-too dumbfounding insight into internal Chinese affairs. 

"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance
"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance"Evidence", Ai Weiwei, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance
  
The exhibition's vast range of media makes for a thoroughly engaging display, ranging from a room filled with 6,000 stools, to Duchamp-inspired sculptures, to 81 (2014); an exact replica of the cell in which Weiwei was illegally confined for 81 days. It's impossible to leave unaffected - let's hope it incites the kinda dialogue that needs to start.

*To sign the open letter campaigning to get Ai Weiwei's travel freedom back, click here!*

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