Ai Weiwei


About The Artist

Born in 1957, Ai Weiwei is one of China's leading contemporary art figures and an accomplished artist, curator, architectural designer, and publisher. After graduating from the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, Ai continued to pursue his love for creating conceptual art at Parsons School of Design in New York. As the son of the famous poet Ai Qing, Ai continued to pursue his love for the arts, creating bold meaningful messages with his works, offering the audiences a new sensation each time.

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Ai was the artistic consultant for the "Bird's Nest" stadium project, which was built for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. An internationally-recognised artist, his works were also showcased at the 28th Venice Biennale in Italy (1999), 1st Montpellier Biennial of Chinese Contemporary Art in France (2005), Liverpool Biennial International 08 in the United Kingdom (2009) as well as the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2010). More recently, he has exhibited at the Museum of DKM, Duisburg (2010), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2009), Groninger Museum, Groningen (2008).

Having established himself in the contemporary art field, his artworks have garnered many awards such as the Wall Street Journal Innovators Award, Foreign Policy Top Global Thinkers of 2011 and Honorary Academician at the Royal Academy of Arts in UK. In 2012, he was elected as Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts and received an honorary fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Ai Weiwei is also the Artistic Director of China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW), which he co-founded in 1997. This contemporary art archive and experimental gallery in Beijing concentrates on experimental art from the People's Republic of China, initiates and facilitates exhibitions and other forms of introductions inside and outside China.

Ai's artwork has been exhibited in Australia, Europe, North and South America. Solo exhibitions include Museum DKM, Duisburg (2010); Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland (2010); Arcadia University Gallery, Glenside (2010); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2009); Hausder Kunst, Munich (2009); Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing (2009); Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Cambelltown Arts Center, Sydney (2008); Groninger Museum, Groningen (2008).

Ai's work was included inthe 48th Venice Biennale in Italy (1999), 1st Guangzhou Triennale in China (2002), 1st Montpellier Biennial of Chinese Contemporary Art in France (2005), The 2nd Guangzhou Triennial (2005), Busan Biennial in Korea(2006), The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Australia (2006), Documenta 12 in Germany (2007), Liverpool Biennial International 08 in the United Kingdom (2008), 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale and the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2010).

Marble Chairs
Ai's Marble Chairs series was inspired by the traditional marble chairs owned by his family during the Cultural Revolution, when he was a child. When Ai returned to China in 1997, he began to collect marble chairs dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties, disassembling and reconstructing them into hybrid forms and minimalist sculptures. As symbols of both continuity and the disruption, Ai's chairs represent the systemic destruction of cultural tradition that still permeates modern China.

His well-known installation 'Fairytale' which was exhibited at Documenta XII in Germany, involved 1,001 Ming and Qing Dynasty-era chairs. This huge installation mesmerised audiences, and represented China's lost tradition in its rush towards modernisation, with the chairs a striking memorial of the past.


Appraisers Association Award for Excellence in the Arts 
St. Moritz Art Masters Lifetime Achievement Award by Cartier 
His documentary Ping'an Yueqing (2012) won the "Spirit of Independence" award at the Beijing Independent Film Festival.   

Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent of the Human Rights Foundation 
Honorary Degree from Pratt Institute 
The International Center of Photography Cornell Capa Award 
Ranked 3rd in ArtReview's Power 100   

Honorary Doctorate Degree University of Ghent, Belgium 
Glas der Vernunft (The Prism of Reason), Kassel Citizen Award, Kassel, Germany   

GQ Men of the Year 2009, Moral Courage 

Chinese Contemporary Art Awards, Lifetime Achievement
Architectural Works

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed in collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron, London, UK (constructed)

The Guest House (Tsai Residence), in collaboration with HHF, New York, USA (contructed)

Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Caochangdi, Beijing, China (constructed)

Jinhua Architectural Art Park, Jinhua, Zhejiang, China (constructed)
Go Where? Restaurant, Beijing, China (constructed)

National Stadium, in collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron, Beijing, China (constructed)
Landscape Design of Ai Qing Cultural Park, Jinhua, Zhejiang, China (constructed)



Ai Weiwei: According to What?, Solo Exhibition, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington

Ai Weiwei, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, the Netherlands

Circle of Animals, Pulitzer Fountain, New York, USA (travelling exhibition)

Stiftung DKM, Duisburg  
Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, USA  
'Sunflower Seeds' at Tate modern Turbine Hall, London, United Kingdom  
29th Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil  
2010 Venice Architecture Biennale

Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, China

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Cambeltown Arts Center, Sydney  
Groninger Museum, Groningen  
Liverpool Biennial International 08 in the United Kingdom

Documenta 12 in Germany

Busan Biennial, Korea

1st Montpellier Biennale of Chinese Contemporary Art, France  
The 2nd Guangzhou Tiennal