Archive: 2006
Exhausting performance: He Yunchang carries stone for 112 days

Exhausting performance: He Yunchang carries stone for 112 days

He Yunchang - The Rock Tours Around Great Britain, 2006-07 1
He YunchangThe 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.

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.

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Ai Weiwei’s coloured vases: Clever artwork or vandalism?

Ai Weiwei’s coloured vases: Clever artwork or vandalism?

Ai Weiwei, Coloured Vases, 2006
Ai WeiweiColoured Vases, 2006

Exhibition visitors have expressed feelings of uneasiness or even pain and nostalgia when seeing Coloured Vases by Ai Weiwei. 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 revolution and the disregard for centuries-old craftsmanship. 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 WeiweiColoured Vases, 2006, Neolithic vases (5000-3000 BC), industrial paint, 51 pieces, dimensions variable

Ai Weiwei, Coloured Vases, 2006
Ai WeiweiColoured Vases, 2006

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Abbas Kowsari’s surprising photos of veiled female police squad in Iran

Abbas Kowsari’s surprising photos of veiled female police squad in Iran

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy, 2006

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy, 2006
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy, 2006

In 2003 the first females ever graduated from Iran’s police academy in the capital city Tehran, after undergoing a 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.

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Front row seat to Parisian ghetto – Mohamed Bourouissa’s Périphérique

Front row seat to Parisian ghetto – Mohamed Bourouissa’s Périphérique

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La fenêtre, 2005

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le groupe, 2007, C-print, 90x120cm
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le groupe, 2007

The Algerian-born, Paris-based photographer Mohamed Bourouissa was born in 1978. His work has been presented and featured in an extensive number of solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo, the Palazzo Grassi – François Pinault Foundation in Venice, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, , the MAXXI in Rome, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Finnish Museum of Photography of Helsinki, the Fotomuseum in Rotterdam, and many more impressive venues.

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Thomas Demand cut 52 tons of cardboard into 900,000 pieces

Thomas Demand cut 52 tons of cardboard into 900,000 pieces

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006 (detail)

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013, Photo, Blake Gopnik
Thomas DemandGrotto, 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.

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Ai Weiwei dips 2,000 year old Chinese vases in paint

Ai Weiwei dips 2,000 year old Chinese vases in paint

Ai Weiwei - Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Photo Sotheby's
Ai WeiweiHan Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable
Photo: Sotheby's

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.

About Ai Weiwei

Born in 1957, Beijing, Ai Weiwei began his training at Beijing Film Academy and later continued at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. He was instrumental in the founding of the Overseas Chinese Artists Foundation as well as laying the groundwork for experimental artists in the East Village. His work has been displayed all over the world in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the United States and recently has been commissioned by the Tate Modern. Later his name would become famous with projects such as the Bird’s Nest, the Olympic Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. His role as an activist deepened, with his infamous probe of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake student deaths and the following closing of his blog.

Ai Weiwei - Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Palazzo Strozzi, Italy
Ai WeiweiHan Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable, at Palazzo Strozzi, Italy

Ai Weiwei - Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Photo Sotheby's
Ai WeiweiHan Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable
Photo: Sotheby's

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Kaarina Kaikkonen’s installations: Why are hundreds of shirts flying in the air?

Kaarina Kaikkonen’s installations: Why are hundreds of shirts flying in the air?

Kaarina-Kaikkonen-Hanging-Clothes-Helsinki
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 University of Kuopio before switching to Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (Bildkonstakademin) where she graduated with top honors in 1983.

Inspiration and More

Kaarina is an artist whose work is primarily in the sculpture niche, with her best-known masterpiece being the installation the Way comprising 3000 men’s jackets on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral in 2000. Kaarina Kaikkonen main inspirations are her parents – mom and dad. That’s why the thematic flow of most of her renowned works involves stuff she associates with her parents. Having lost her dad to heart attack, for one, the sculptress believes that using recycled clothing as her medium offers the comfort much akin to her father’s old garments.

Thanks to several magnificent public works, both small and large-scale, she has done in her home country Finland and elsewhere around the world (read: US, UK, Canada, Japan, and Cuba), she is now a household name in the art world. That’s why it comes to no surprise that her collection has been featured in myriads of world-class museum all over the world, most notably Borås Art Museum, Sweden; Wyoming University Art Museum, US; Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland; and Aine Art Museum, Tornio, Finland, just to name a few.

Notable Work

Kaarina Kaikkonen installations and artworks are monumental and glorious both in creativity and size. The central theme in all her work is using recycled stuff to relive the essence of the previous owner and add nuances to public places. As such, her work is not only approachable but also evokes complex yet ambiguous images. She’s been known to use neckties, shirts, coats, and even shoes to breathe more life into her objects. What’s more, Kaarina has also used large tree leaves prepped in resin, glass fiber, and paper, with notable examples being Ja tuuli kay sinun listesi, an impressive piece she did back in the early 1990s. Other amazing works she has done include waterfront installation in Havana, K11 Art Mall in Shanghai, and ex-church monument in Brighton.

Awards and Recognition

Kaarina Kaikkonen contribution to the art world hasn’t gone unnoticed. In her early years as an artist, she managed to snag the National Visual Arts Prize in 1989. She was awarded, subsequently, the Public Prize in Den Haag Sculptuur in 2004, the Finland Prize of Art (2001, 2013), knighted First Class by Order of the Lion of Finland, and received Honorable Mention at Cairo 11th Biennale in 2009.

Kaarina Kaikkonen - Networking, 2009 - Piazza Calderini, Bologna, Italy
Kaarina KaikkonenNetworking, 2009 – Piazza Calderini, Bologna, Italy

Kaarina Kaikkone - Prato contemporanea - Crossing Borders - 1
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Prato contemporanea – Crossing Borders, 2014, Firenze, Italy

Kaarina Kaikkone - Prato contemporanea - Crossing Borders - 2
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Prato contemporanea – Crossing Borders, 2014, Firenze, Italy

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