Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour, a BBC Documentary

Short documentary on Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.  Thanks to the Imaginary Foundation (check out their blog for a multitude of interesting posts: blog.imaginaryfoundation.com) for posting it.  Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour, a BBC Documentary.

Link here: http://blog.imaginaryfoundation.com/blog/07-18-2011/Ai+Weiwei%3A+Without+Fear+or+Favour%2C+a+BBC+Documentary

Ai Weiwei has gained popularity in the west over the past couple of years.  He has gained notoriety for his installation pieces at well known art museums around the world.  The world has become more aware of him also because of his outspoken critiques of the Chinese government and the abuse he has endured because of this.  AiWeiwei is known for designing the Bird’s Nest, the national stadium built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.  He is also a photographer, graphic designer, and landscape architect, among other things.  He is a unique character in Chinese society, not only for his original work as an artist, but also for his drive and ability to speak out against restrictions and restraints of human rights and right livelihood he perceives within his country’s government.

In the video, you’ll see that recently he had an installation piece at the Tate Modern in London.  In an area of China famous for its history of ceramics, Ai Weiwei had artisans handcraft millions of porcelain sunflower seeds for this piece.  The sunflower seeds were then poured across the first floor of the museum and people were allowed to relax on them, as if they were at the beach.  Footage of this is in the video.  Very cool to see what people thought of it.  Quick view of the space where the sunflower seeds were displayed:

I recently visited the Tate Modern and while that particular installation had passed, there was a small cone of his sunflower seeds still on display.  Interesting to hear about the symbolism of the sunflower seed for the Chinese people in the video.

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