在纽约Lisson画廊的首次个展上，艾未未展出了长约5米的被砍倒的铸铁树干，以及一系列由铁铸而成的根雕，背景为一张新装配的壁纸。展出的七件雕塑首次完整位于切尔西空中花园 (High Line) 底部的横梁之间，融为一体，形成一个充满错位物品的森林，透露出艺术家对传统和历史的兴趣，以及在后现代社会中重置概念的风行。
For his first solo exhibition with Lisson New York, Ai Weiwei populates the gallery with felled, cast-iron tree trunks, nearly sixteen feet in length, and a series of iron root sculptures set against the backdrop of a new wallpaper installation. Situated among the beams of the High Line exposed entirely in this exhibition for the first time, the seven sculptures on display combine to create a forest of displaced objects and reveal the artist’s interest in tradition and contemporaneity as well as the prevalence of displacement in post-modern societies.
Natural objects – from the sunflower seeds that carpeted Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010 to his series of porcelain rocks and watermelons – have been an ongoing source of inspiration for Ai Weiwei, with trees recurring as a spiritual motif in his work since 2009. These monumental wooden or iron multipartite sculptures are all composites of different parts of different trees gathered by the artist from various parts of China in reference to the ancient Asian tradition of collecting dry fragments of trees for contemplation of their complex forms.
Fragments also play an important part in Ai Weiwei’s work as they force attention on foundational elements and the most basic units that combine to create a whole. Here, in line with the artist’s worldview, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts but rather each individual part is equal and of unique importance. This focus on equality is evidenced in recent projects by the artist that take as their starting point the refugee crisis and challenges to freedom of speech.
The iron roots and tree trunks shown in New York are presented in a natural, untreated state, appearing at first glance as organic forms, yet upon closer inspection, reveal their artificiality. Not born of nature but made by human hands, the works, themselves contorted by the surrounding landscape, represent a society uprooted by industrialisation and modernisation, illustrating how progress can often come at the expense of cultural and societal well-being. By eliminating their original function and value, Ai Weiwei imbues the objects with new meaning and forces us to confront them in a new light.
Mary Boone Gallery
2016年11月5日，在切尔西区和第五大道的两间Mary Boone画廊同时开幕展览 “艾未未 2016: 根与枝干”，展出了艾未未的近期作品，包括以多种媒介呈现的作品——从古木到瓷器，再到现代的乐高积木，以及由他本人设计的墙纸。
On 5 November 2016, Mary Boone Gallery opened at both its Chelsea and Fifth Avenue locations Ai Weiwei 2016: Roots and Branches, an exhibition of recent works by eminent international artist and human rights activist AI WEIWEI.
The show includes works in a variety of mediums – from ancient wood and porcelain, to modern LEGO bricks, and wallpaper of the Artist’s design.
The Gallery/Downtown (541 West 24 Street), houses the monumental (25 foot high) Tree. Constructed from weathered sections of dead trees that have been brought down from the mountains of Southern China and bolted together in the form of a whole, healthy tree with spreading branches, Tree is a totem that may be seen as a comment on the strength of modern China built from many ancient ethnic groups, or a determined attempt to create something new and vital from what is irrevocably lost.
The show also includes new works composed from plastic LEGO toy bricks. Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn recreates with “pixels” of LEGOs Ai’s iconic triptych of black and white photographs depicting himself in the act of destroying a fragile symbol of China’s past. Self-Portrait, another LEGO work, presents an image of Ai Weiwei that adopts the bright color and repetition of Warhol’s silkscreen portraits.
At the Gallery/Uptown (745 Fifth Avenue), a circular field of 40,000 spouts broken from antique Chinese porcelain teapots fills the main room. Wallpaper with a complex design of an arm with extended middle finger, referencing Ai’s well-known Study of Perspective series of photographs, serves as the backdrop for this installation. Seen in this context, the individual spouts mimic the form of the bent finger, excised and rendered ineffectual.
Each location also includes one of Ai’s works made of ancient reclaimed huali wood. Treasure Box is an enlargement of an intricate puzzle-box of sliding and locking compartments, and Garbage Container, modeled after a bin turned on its side, is an elegy to five homeless boys in Guizhou Province who suffocated in a dumpster while trying to stay warm.