Ai Weiwei is one of today’s most prominent artists. An activist, and critic of authoritarian power systems. Kunsthal now presents his work in a large-scale exhibition. In Search of Humanity is the most comprehensive retrospective to date. Including cultural ready-mades, paintings, works made from LEGO bricks, sculptures, installations, photography, and video works, the exhibition presents an impressive overview of Ai Weiwei’s over-four-decades-spanning career and feature key works from all his different creative periods. The exhibition is on display until March 3.
This must-see exhibition offers an insight into the life of the world-famous Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, such as his early childhood spent in exile with his father since the Anti-Rightist Movement, or his own detainment in 2011. His artworks show his quest for humanity and a better world. The artist believes we all have a responsibility to take action against threats to freedom of speech and violations of human rights – from the Chinese government’s intimidation techniques and the call for freedom, to warfare and the global refugee crisis.
“Everything is art. Everything is politics.” – Ai Weiwei
The exhibition shows 120 of his artworks, including Forever Bicycles (2003), a large bicycle sculpture made from bicycles without handlebars to emphasize that you are not in control, in reference to the dominant Chinese regime. With Sunflower Seeds (2010), a floor with 1 ton of hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds, Ai Weiwei challenges the ‘Made in China’ mantra that China is known for. Also shown are the iconic photographs in which he raises his middle finger to famous international monuments as symbols of power. With little LEGO bricks Ai Weiwei realises disturbing images, for instance of a drowned refugee in After the Death of Marat (2018), or of his arrest in Illumination (2019).