He Yunchang – The Rock Tours Around Great Britain, 2006-07
Chinese performance artist He Yunchang has been using his body as the main prop in his art pieces. His performances are often hard on endurance, and he has to go to the extremes to showcase his might.
He Yunchang carries stone around the perimeter of Great Britain
On 23 September 2006, he collected a beach rock that was the size of a shoe at the Beach of Boulmer, located at the Northumberland Cost of England. The piece weighed about 3.6 kilograms. He then walked with the boulder at hand and sometimes ran with it around the perimeter of Great Britain.
Ai Weiwei – Coloured Vases, 2006
Why did Ai Weiwei cover the vases with brightly colored paint?
Exhibition visitors have expressed feelings of uneasiness or even pain and nostalgia when seeing Coloured Vases by Ai Weiwei1. The 51 vases that make up the artwork are originally treasures from the Neolithic Age (5000–3000 BCE) and the artist has dunked them in common industrial paint, commenting on the devastation caused by the Chinese Cultural Revolution2 and the disregard for centuries-old craftsmanship3. By covering the surfaces, the history of the vases is no longer visible, but still there, beneath the dried layer of industrial color. Some viewers have felt provoked by this audacious act, in their eyes destroying something rare and precious, instead of safeguarding and worshipping it.
Like with many other works by Ai Weiwei, he uses irony to challenge viewers’ assumptions and perspectives. As China’s most notorious artist, he finds himself in constant confrontation with the Chinese authorities, and Coloured Vases is an essential piece in his rebellious oeuvre.
Ai Weiwei – Coloured Vases, 2006, Neolithic vases (5000-3000 BC), industrial paint, 51 pieces, dimensions variable
Ai Weiwei – Coloured Vases, 2006
Abbas Kowsari – Police Women Academy, 2006
Tehran’s first all-female police unit
In 2003 the first females ever graduated from Iran’s police academy in the capital city Tehran, after undergoing training of three years. Spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself had to give permission to Tehran’s police chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to create the first all-female police unit.
Mohamed Bourouissa’s pictures are inspired by classical painting, the pictures are expressive declarations pointing at the ethical fallout of photojournalism, focusing on the problematic power relations that take place within the photographic medium in addition to the voyeuristic nature of photojournalism.
His Parisian suburb photos
Mohamed Bourouissa’s photo’s, like those of many photojournalists work, features impoverished, stylish young African and Arab men and women, some who are immigrants while others are the children of immigrants, living in suburban housing projects on the peripheries of Paris. The photographs, however, are posed, which is where the inspiration of the classical painting comes in, motionlessly elegant.
Thomas Demand – Grotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013
Photo: Blake Gopnik
Thomas Demand has ignited the imaginations and adventurous sides of viewers with his photography piece, titled Grotto. Pulling viewers into an underground cavern covered in beautiful bright stalactites and stalagmites, art lovers find themselves in the center of the earth. However, if viewers look a little deeper, they will find that there is much more with Grotto than what meets the eye. Once viewers come into realization, they are left in awe at the work that had gone into the creation of this photograph.
Ai Weiwei – Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable
‘Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint’
The Han Dynasty Vases with Auto-Paint is a work shown as part of Ai Weiwei’s solo exhibition “Evidence”. It is a series of neolithic vases, painted smooth and shining with brightly colored automotive paint. The aged vessels are given new context, evoking the mass marketing and luxurious consumerist appeal of the goods typically adorned with this type of paint, that are highly coveted in China. By destroying their historical value, he creates a highly politicized satire that calls into question the nature of art.
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Helsinki, Finland
Kaarina Kaikkonen’s biography
Kaarina Kaikkonen is one of the most important artistic sculptors of our time. She is best known for her inventive use of second-hand pieces of clothing (mostly jackets & shirts) and molded craft paper to transform public places like churches, streets and plazas into memorable jacket installations. The environment is incorporated into these installations in some way, resulting in a beautiful, colorful cloth landscape. Each garment individually tells a story as an extension of its past wearer, and as a group, they come together to create a history and visual retelling of their space. Born in 1952 in Iisalmi, Finland, Kaarina Kaikkonen studied medical physics briefly at the University of Kuopio before switching to Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (Bildkonstakademin) where she graduated with top honors in 1983.