Ai Weiwei – Han dynasty urn, shattered symbolism

Ai Weiwei, Pillars, 2006,  porcelain, Private Collection, Switzerland,

Ai Weiwei, 'Pillars', 2006, porcelain, Private Collection, Switzerland,

“From 1978 onward, Ai Weiwei manifested himself in the Beijing art world as a member of the artists association called Xingxing (the Stars). When they disbanded in 1983, he settled in New York. In 1993 he returned to Beijing, and from that moment onward he made use traditional Chinese elements in his work, exploring the mechanisms of political and national symbolism in a provoking manner. For one of his works he allowed an urn from the Han dynasty to fall to the ground and break… He painted ancient vases with the Coca Cola logo, or coated them in bright colours. He subsequently presented them as cheap counterfeits. In 1997 he founded the China Arts Archives and Warehouse, which offers a platform to young and experimental artists.”

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