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Ai Weiwei
Fairytale - 1001 Chairs

Hard Wood Inscribed & Labeled


The chair represented is part of Fairytale - 1001 Chairs - a project where Ai Weiwei installed 1001 wooden chairs dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Kassel, Germany as a representation of Chinese tradition. They encompassed memories of the past in a country rushing towards modernization. Ai Weiwei recruited 1001 Chinese citizens of all backgrounds over the Internet, who voluntarily signed up to live in Kassel for the duration of his exhibition. This particular piece commented on the changing lives of ordinary people, by immersing them in new social, political and cultural experiences. The outcome of this project, entitled Documenta, listed a change in German perceptions and understanding of Chinese people. For locals who had previously been ignorant of Chinese culture and engaged in stereotyping, the project demystified their notions gave both parties glimpses of Oriental and Occidental societies.

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  • +Artist Bio

    Born in Beijing in 1957, Ai Weiwei is one of China's leading contemporary art figures, with a practice that spans art-making, curating, architectural design, and publishing. The son of famed poet Ai Qing, Ai studied at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, only to dropout one year later and become a founding member of the artist collaborative known as the Stars Group. Ai has won several awards over the years, such as the Lifetime Achievement at the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards in 2008, Wall Street Journal Innovators Award (Art), The Art Review Power 100, ranked number one, being part of the top five in Time's Person of the Year award all in 2011 and was recently awarded an Honorary Degree from Pratt Institute, honorary fellowship from Royal Institute of British Architects, elected as Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, and recipient of The International Center of Photography Cornell Capa Award in 2012.
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  • +Exhibitions

    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 

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