Magasin 3 presents Ai Wiewei’s first exhibition in Sweden
February 3 – June 10, 2012
Curator: Tessa Praun
Magasin 3 presents the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in his first solo exhibition in Sweden.
The exhibition will focus on a number of Ai Weiwei’s monumental installations and his political work. A reading room which will also include documentary films will give visitors a chance to learn about his multifaceted efforts to foster social change in China—an activism that puts him on a collision course with the regime.
Ai Weiwei often refers to pre-revolutionary China and its cultural and craft traditions in his work. He seeks out iconic objects with great cultural and symbolic value for the Chinese, and then deliberately treats them with complete disregard for its worth or intended function. Much of his work is a commentary on the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) during which countless cultural treasures were destroyed in order to pave the way for contemporary China, so marked by both communism and capitalism. The works chosen for the exhibition all address Chinese socialism, mass production and global trade.
Tessa Praun, curator at Magasin 3, met Ai Weiwei in the fall of 2010 at his Beijing studio to begin work on the exhibition. She says:
Ai Weiwei has remarkable sensibility and strength in his visual expression, which is effective in conveying a rather complex and significant content. When I met Ai Weiwei in his studio he had just been held under house arrest for a few days. He was calm but keenly aware that he was already in a very uncertain and tenuous situation. After the events of the past year I think that it is ever more important for elements of his political work to be present in the exhibition.
About the artist:
Ai Weiwei was born in 1957 in Beijing. He co-founded the avant-garde artists’ group Stars at the end of the 1970s before moving to New York in 1981. There he was a leading figure in the community of exiled Chinese artists, writers and musicians and became an active member of the American intellectual and artistic scene. In 1993 Ai Weiwei returned to China where he has worked not only as an artist, but also as a curator, architect and blogger. In recent years his activism for social change in China has increased, making him one of the most outspoken critics of the regime.
In conjunction with the exhibition Magasin 3 is inviting international participants to take part in a series of lectures, panel discussions and film screenings. Events will address Ai Weiwei’s art, democracy and human rights in relation to creativity and how digital media is used to in the struggle for freedom of expression. The program series is organized together with ABF, Bio Rio, Goethe-Institut, Moderna Museet and Swedish PEN.
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