Uncomfortable: These two couches are made from marble
ai-weiwei-art-in-the-city-sofa-in-white-zuerich-2012-1

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

It looks like somebody has misplaced two couches right in the center of Zürich, but curious passers looking for a rest will be surprised, the furniture feels hard and cold and doesn’t deliver the expected comfort. The Sofa in White are two artworks made out of marble, created by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (1957).

For Art and the City, the largest outdoor exhibition of Switzerland, he placed The Sofa in White right in the financial district. The artworks look like a certain model of 1970s furniture, sold in millions especially to the Chinese middle class and turned into an icon of a generation, representing achievable modest wealth and comfort. Weiwei’s couches are handmade by Chinese craftsman using expensive marble, each piece is 1.020 kg heavy. They are currently in front of Credit Suisse, with UBS one of the two big banks that are situated at the Paradeplatz since the end of the 19th Century. This place is one of the world’s most expensive locations and became well known through international tv as almost every report about Swiss banks shows the Paradeplatz. Now it embodies the cliche of Swiss banks like no other and stands for money and gold, bank secrecy and money laundering and for bonuses and financial crisis. The seatings are a symbol for globalization, a source of major profits for the Credit Suisse.

Ai Weiwei’s The Sofa in White and other artworks are on display in the city space until September 23rd.

Art and the City takes place in Zürich right now and shows 40 works by artists like Doug Aitken, Paul McCarthy and others. The public art project coincides with the Venice Biennale and Kassel’s documenta, roughly located between their two venues.

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

Ai Weiwei - Sofa in White, 2011, Zürich
Ai WeiweiSofa in White, 2011, Zürich

(photos: courtesy the artist und Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing – Lucerne)

> Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds on Public Delivery

> Wilfredo Prieto’s b/w flags – Apolítico, another work installed in Zürich right now

 

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