Archive: London
Throwback: New visual language in the field of photography

Throwback: New visual language in the field of photography

Thomas Struth - Pantheon, Rome, 1990

Thomas Struth - Pantheon, Rome, 1990
Thomas StruthPantheon, Rome, 1990

Thomas Struth is one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary photographers of our time. He is renowned for his black and white photographs of cities such as Düsseldorf and New York, as well as his family portraits. The artist who lives in Dusseldorf acquired his inspiration for his series of Museum Photographs while he was residing in Naples and Rome, where he discovered that there was a connection between paintings of art and religion and how these paintings connect audiences to their spirituality. The Museum Photographs, which was showcased at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, marshaled in a new visual language in the field of photography.

In his series, Struth photographed the art and the visitors viewing it, as well as the viewer observing other audiences. As such, with the many layers of observation, Struth’s intention was to assess the museum’s control of their audience and the criteria that each museum has for exhibiting pieces in the way that it does. The purpose behind the Museum Photographs was to remind people that the iconic subjects of his photographs were once just unfamiliar paintings done by ordinary individuals.

For instance, his Galleria dell’Accademia I, Venice piece shows regular tourists in shorts and casual clothing as they wander around an exhibition hall that is dominated by Paolo Veronese’s 1573 painting The Feast in the House of Levi. Struth’s color print is as large as Veronese’s painting, yet the scene in his photograph is reminiscent of memories of an outing on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. He specifically selected Veronese’s interpretation of the Feast in the House of Levi as a subject because it had a feel of a regular dinner or lunch and it depicted a rather large party atmosphere where people have gathered to drink and make merry. As a result, his photograph of the feast allows today’s audiences to look upon the masterpiece with a new energy and perspective, just like the first time it was put on public display.

For the project, Struth utilized a European 13×18 camera, and he positioned himself strategically so that every photograph he took, whether inside a museum or in the crowded streets of Paris and Vienna, rendered onlookers in random areas, which gives his pictures more power.

In the end, he managed to create a dialogue between photography and paintings, where his choice of paintings echoes his earlier black and white work in Düsseldorf. He effectively manages to bridge the gap between space and time, where the figures in the painting and the figures observing the paintings are connected despite how much time has passed since the paintings were first made public or the space that exists between them.

Thomas Struth - Pergamon Museum I, Berlin, 2001
Thomas StruthPergamon Museum I, Berlin, 2001

Thomas Struth - Pergamon Museum II, Berlin, 2001
Thomas StruthPergamon Museum II, Berlin, 2001

Thomas Struth - Pergamon Museum III, Berlin, 2001
Thomas StruthPergamon Museum III, Berlin, 2001

Thomas Struth - Pergamon Museum VI, Berlin, 1996
Thomas StruthPergamon Museum VI, Berlin, 2001

Thomas Struth - Stanze di Raffaello 2, Rome, 1990
Thomas StruthStanze di Raffaello 2, Rome, 1990

Thomas Struth - Art Institute of Chicago I, Chicago, 1990
Thomas StruthArt Institute of Chicago I, Chicago, 1990

Thomas Struth - Art Institute of Chicago II, Chicago, 1990
Thomas StruthArt Institute of Chicago II, Chicago, 1990

Thomas Struth - Galleria dell'Accademia I, Venice, 1992
Thomas StruthGalleria dell'Accademia I, Venice, 1992

Thomas Struth - Kunsthistorisches Museum III Wien, 1989
Thomas StruthKunsthistorisches Museum III Wien, 1989

Thomas Struth - Louvre 1, Paris, 1989
Thomas StruthLouvre 1, Paris, 1989

Thomas Struth - Louvre 4, Paris, 1989
Thomas StruthLouvre 4, Paris, 1989

Thomas Struth - Pergamon Museum IV, Berlin, 2001
Thomas StruthPergamon Museum IV, Berlin, 2001

Thomas Struth - National Gallery 1, London, 1989
Thomas StruthNational Gallery I, London, 1989

Thomas Struth - National Gallery II, London, 2001
Thomas StruthNational Gallery II, London, 2001

Thomas Struth - Alte Pinakothek, Self Portrait, Munich, 2000
Thomas StruthAlte Pinakothek, Self Portrait, Munich, 2000


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Ambitious installation recreated sun inside of museum

Ambitious installation recreated sun inside of museum

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson has created a gigantic installation which in 2003 took over all space in Tate Modern, London. The artwork, a sun rising out of a mist was bound to keep any visitor in awe. In this project named The Weather Project, the Scandinavian artist recreated the sun and the sky to occupy the Turbine Hall. The whole space was covered with a fine mist that seeps into the whole space like it was coming from the outside space. Looking ahead to see if the mist escapes into the outer space, visitors saw in place of the ceiling, a replica of the space below – like a mirror. There were 200 low-sodium mono-frequency lamps at the extreme end of the hall as well. Mono-frequency lamps are mostly used in street lights and the frequency at which they emit light is so low that any other colour besides black and yellow are invisible. These lamps therefore change the view and landscape of the environment into one with two tones.

The idea was conceived when Eliasson was in London. It was on a warm day even though it snowed the previous day and people were talking about global warming. The artist also talked about the weather being a dynamic element. “You will see clouds today that you will never see again.” Eliasson said he wanted to capture that.

This artwork was not created to create an illusion. The idea was to make viewers understand the artist’s creation to the tiniest details. The Weather Project showcased a thorough mastery of the components of the universe, although the work was a kind of tease in itself which poked fun at our understanding of the elements of weather. Imagine having a sun that is not hot and a sky that ends somewhere. The location of this work, the Turbine Hall, gave a hum which when combined with viewing Eliasson’s creation brought viewers to be a part of the place. It gave a sense of close encounter. Also a red glow around the sphere was quite similar to the planet Mars.

The Weather Project tried to give viewers an illusion of being close to the sun within the clouds but the reality is that a huge semi-circle was hung from a mirrored ceiling which the reflection made look like a full circle. The replica of the space below which could seen in the ceiling was as a result of the mirrors on the ceiling. The audience made the effects complete as some adults and children were often seen lying down on their backs, staring at the ceiling and making different gestures so they can watch their reflections.

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Dan Chung / Guardian

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London


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Beautiful sculptures made entirely from soap

Beautiful sculptures made entirely from soap

Meekyoung Shin - Crouching Aphrodite, 2002
Meekyoung ShinCrouching Aphrodite, 2002

Meekyoung Shin, a South Korean sculptor, became popular for her Translation series, using soap as her medium of art. Trained in the tradition of European sculpture, her statuettes are made factoring in the Western and Eastern style of relief. Her works are usually made from palm oil, a vegetarian soap.

The free-standing ancient Greek sculptures of nude male youths made by Shin are perfect replicas of the originals. She actually preserved the missing limbs, crack and the other defects that were on the classical sculptures. Shin’s vases are also replica. The originals from China were created and sold in the European market between the 16th and 20th centuries. The vases feature dragons, warriors and other essential elements that depict the Chinese culture. When you look at them, you will notice the careful carving and also will be attracted by the scent of the soap, used to make the works.

While most people choose to go to the public toilets as a last resort, for Meekyoung Shin, this is the best place to place her art and latest pieces. Using the Toilet Project, she has been able to display some of her sculptures in public toilets. This is an art program that is aimed at having galleries display their art in toilets.

Meekyoung Shin has faced some challenges in the line of duty. For instance, the statue of Buddha that was in public toilets has been removed by the Korean Cultural Centre UK after a number of visitors complained. For most people, having a religion icon in the toilet does not seem right, and this has been a big hindrance to the growth of the Toilet Project. Shin’s work is a great wonder for most people who wash their hands using these soap statutes and illustrates the transition that happens in life.

Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm and Untitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm, Untitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2013, soap, pigment, varnish and wooden crate
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2009, soap, pigment, varnish and wooden crate
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series. Korean Cultural Centre, 2013-14, Photo- STF
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, Korean Cultural Centre, London, UK
Photo: STF

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase series, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel, fragrance, wooden crate, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel, fragrance, wooden crate, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

Meekyoung Shin - Translated Vases series, 2009, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, 2009, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, Foto Uwe Walter
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
Photo: Uwe Walter

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, Foto Uwe Walter
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
Photo: Uwe Walter

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015 3
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015 5
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015, Translation, Ghost Series(Red), 2007-ongoing, Soap, varnish, fragrance, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Ghost Series(Red), Soap, varnish, fragrance, Dimensions variable, Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project 2, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet Project, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project 1, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet Project, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Weathering Project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinWeathering Project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Gilt Buddha, 2011, Soap, gold leaf, varnish, 90x28x28cm
Meekyoung ShinGilt Buddha, 2011, Soap, gold leaf, varnish, 90x28x28cm

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project bust, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, photo jim varney
Meekyoung ShinToilet project bust, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Photo: Jim Varney

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, photo jim varney
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Photo: Jim Varney

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project, Taipei, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, Taipei, Taiwan

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project, dimensions variable, Unfixed A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, dimensions variable, Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013

Toilet Project, 2004-ongoing, Soap, fragrance, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Buddha, 2011
Meekyoung ShinBuddha, 2011

Meekyoung Shin - Pensive Maitreya Boddhisatva, dimensions variable, Unfixed- A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013
Meekyoung ShinPensive Maitreya Boddhisatva, dimensions variable, Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 24x14x10cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 24x14x10cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 47x19x20cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 47x19x20cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 83x18x40cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 83x18x40cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Ghost Series; Pink, Soap, varnish, pigment, 2012. 32 x 42 x 44 cm
Meekyoung Shin Ghost Series; Pink, 2012, Soap, varnish, pigment, 32x42x44cm


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Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

 Jeremy Deller - It is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre,  Photos: Linda Nylind
Jeremy DellerIt is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
Photo: Linda Nylind

In the Imperial War Museum in London, surrounded by some of the most powerful military hardware of the last 100 years rests a rusting, crumpled car. This is a clear example of what war does. The car is a piece by Jeremy Deller, and was a car that was contorted in a street bombing that killed 38 people and wounded many more at Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabbi book market. Al-Mutanabbi book market was at the heart of the Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual life.

The car serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of war on civilians, the toll it takes on lives, the destruction and devastation that comes with every act of war. The artist, Deller, won the Turner prize in 2004, is best known for recreating the Battle of Orgreave from the miners’ strike.

The visual destruction and devastation on the vehicle is only small and representative compared to the destruction and devastation in people’s lives, especially those who are in war torn countries. Lives are lost and destroyed, worlds and realities become twisted and mangled, and families become broken. Deller’s piece is a gateway into the hurt, harm, and brokenness that comes with war. The fact that this piece is held at a war museum is also extremely significant.

This piece serves as a discussion piece, arguing different sides and aspects of war- this piece is simply what we need more of. Thought provoking, raw, emotional, and profound- it takes the audience’s thoughts in different directions as they inspect the twisted metal that was once a fully formed vehicle, maybe like their own. It takes the audience to a place of realism and realization, and takes something that is often out of sight and out of mind and places it directly I the guests line of sight.

Jeremy Deller - It Is What It Is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009 (detail)
Jeremy DellerIt is what it is- Conversations About Iraq (detail), 2009

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Entire museum buildings covered by jute sack

Entire museum buildings covered by jute sack

Ibrahim Mahama - Untitled (K.N.U.S.T.)
Ibrahim MahamaUntitled (K.N.U.S.T.), 2013 (Detail), Jute coal sacks, dimensions Variable

Ibrahim Mahama is an artist born and working with Ghana. His installation works using Jute sacks (reappropriated material he has purchased from markets, which were first cocoa sacks and then coal sacks) are the result of his investigation of the conditions of supply and demand in African markets. Torn, patched, stamped with PRODUCT OF GHANA, and written over with owners’ names, the bags are variously marred, marked, and transformed. These installations are displayed in Ghanaian markets as well as galleries, thus defying the artifacts’ intrinsic value system. Ibrahim uses the coal sacks as a device to explore process, material, value, and meaning. He creates an artistic vision out of a commonplace material, repurposing them and exhibiting them in the very marketplaces from which they came.

Ibrahim Mahama - Installation at Accra’s National Theatre, Central Ghana
Ibrahim Mahama – Installation at Accra’s National Theatre, Ghana

Ibrahim Mahama - Installation at Accra’s National Theatre
Ibrahim Mahama – Installation at Accra’s National Theatre, Ghana

Ibrahim Mahama - Civil Aviation, Airport. Accra, Ghana, 2014
Ibrahim MahamaCivil Aviation, Airport. Accra, Ghana, 2014

Ibrahim Mahama - Civil Occupation, 2014, Jute coal sacks, Installation view
Ibrahim MahamaCivil Occupation (installation view), 2014, Jute coal sacks

Ibrahim Mahama - Juli Baw, 2015, Coal sacks, dye sack with makins and creen print, 548 x 767 cm
Ibrahim MahamaJuli Baw, 2015, Coal sacks, dye sack with makins and creen print, 548 x 767 cm

Ibrahim Mahama - K.N.U.S.T Library. Occupation and labour. Kumasi, Ghana, 2014
Ibrahim MahamaK.N.U.S.T Library. Occupation and labour. Kumasi, Ghana, 2014

Ibrahim Mahama - Untitled
Ibrahim Mahama – Untitled, Jute coal sacks, dimensions Variable

Ibrahim Mahama - Markings and body on coal sacks
Ibrahim Mahama – Markings and body on coal sacks

Ibrahim Mahama - Nyhavn Kaplang. Installation View, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Ibrahim MahamaNyhavn Kaplang (installation view), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Photo by Anders Sune Berg

Ibrahim Mahama - Nyhavn Kaplang. Installation View, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Ibrahim MahamaNyhavn Kaplang (installation view), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Photo by Anders Sune Berg

Ibrahim Mahama - Nyhavn Kaplang. Installation View, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Ibrahim MahamaNyhavn Kaplang (installation view), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Photo by Anders Sune Berg

Ibrahim Mahama - Out of Bounds (detail), 2015, Venice Biennale
Ibrahim MahamaOut of Bounds (detail), 2015, Venice Biennale, Italy

Ibrahim Mahama - Out of Bounds (Installation view), 2015, 56th Venice Biennale
Ibrahim MahamaOut of Bounds (installation view), 2015, Venice Biennale, Italy

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Artificial lake installed on top of museum

Artificial lake installed on top of museum

Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title
Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Starting a rainy day, a day filled with grey shades, feels empty but it will slowly fade.

Nothing but a monotone day is the first impression in the city of London. But with such gloomy ambiance, comes an experience, a life where beauty lies in every aspect. That beauty is art. It is when you enter a different world, appreciating such fine intricacy with a colorful explanation, its secrecy, the intimacy and the mystery behind the piece of work: The Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title.

The voyage around the Hayward buildings give you an art adventure, having to merely roam around like it was an artist’s playground. Not knowing what’s next and what surprises you in the end. There lies a pond, where you can bring back your childhood memory of riding a boat in a bizarre architectural art, filled with amusement comes an immersing experience of appreciation. That’s beauty, where a day is filled with shades of grey that turns its meaningless ambiance to countless appreciation and vibrant elucidation with familiarity in art.

About Gelitin

Gelitin is an Austrian artist collective and comprised of four artists. They met first in 1978 when they all attended a summer camp. They have been playing and working together. 1993 they began exhibiting internationally.

Gelitin - Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Gelitin - Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Gelitin - Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

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Ai Weiwei explains his famous Sunflower Seeds

Ai Weiwei explains his famous Sunflower Seeds

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, Tate Modern, London
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, hand-painted porcelain, at Tate Modern, London

Insight in the background and production process of one of the most spectacular exhibitions of 2010, Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern. Follow Ai Weiwei to the city of Jingdezhen in northern Jiangxi, China, famed for its production of Imperial porcelain, where all of the sunflower seeds have been individually hand-sculpted and hand-painted.

Additionally, you can see Sunflower Seeds at Mary Boone Gallery right now. The exhibition opened on January 7 and is on view until February 4. Below are a few installation shots. The installation is made out of millions (five tons) of hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds. Each actual-size seed is unique and intricately hand-formed and like those shown at Tate Modern painted in Jingdezhen.

The sunflower, following the sun, is a well-known metaphor for The People during China’s Cultural Revolution. The seeds provided nourishment at all levels of society, and the ubiquitous discarded husks provided evidence of an individual’s existence. Ai Weiwei created a deceptively unified field with a large number of individual seeds. Sunflower Seeds comments on social, political and economical issues relevant to contemporary China such as the role of the individual in relationship to the collective.

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, Tate Modern, London
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, hand-painted porcelain, at Tate Modern, London, photo by Mike Kemp, In Pictures, Corbis

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, Tate Modern, London
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, hand-painted porcelain, at Tate Modern, London

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, Tate Modern
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, hand-painted porcelain, at Tate Modern, London

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