Ai Weiwei

Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art

Left: Ai Weiwei, “Sunflower Seeds” (5 tons), 2009.
Right: Ai Weiwei, “Stool,” 2008.

February 2, 2012

Ai Weiwei
3 Feb–10 Jun 2012

Curator: Tessa Praun

Frihamnsgatan 28
SE -115 56 Stockholm
Thur 11am–7pm
Fri–Sun 11am–5pm

T +46 8 545 680 40
art [​at​]


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.
Tessa Praun, curator at Magasin 3, met Ai Weiwei in fall 2010 at his Beijing studio

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 their worth or intended function. The artworks are both a commentary on the disdain that Mao’s Cultural Revolution showed the past and a way for Ai Weiwei himself to dispatch with conventional notions about art and its value. The works chosen for the exhibition all address Chinese socialism, mass production and global trade.

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.

The site combines Ai Weiwei’s artistry and activism, presenting artworks, articles, interviews, videos and digital projects. The platform is used both online and in the exhibition as part of the physical reading room giving a digital overview of the artworks exhibited at Magasin 3. It will also be a link to a series of related events at other locations in Stockholm during the spring and to Ai Weiweis global influence as an online activist.

Here, visitors can learn more about the exhibition, plan their visit, participate in existing digital activism, follow Ai Weiwei’s Twitter feed and see live-streamed events discussing everything from his artistry and the current situation for contemporary art in China, to freedom of speech and the power of microblogs.

The ambition is to introduce the many sides of Ai Weiwei and make his voice heard in Stockholm between February 3 and June 10, 2012.

In conjunction with the exhibition Magasin 3 has invited international participants to take part in a series of talks. These events will address Ai Weiwei’s art, democracy and human rights in relation to creativity and how digital media is used in the struggle for freedom of expression. The program series is organized together with ABF, Bio Rio, Goethe-Institut, Moderna Museet and Swedish PEN/Kulturhuset, Hotade ord with the generous support of Kulturrådet and Svenska PostkodLotteriet. Special thanks to the Culture Without Borders Foundation.

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Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art
February 2, 2012

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