Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.
Ai became widely known in Britain after his sunflower seeds installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010 but this is the first major institutional survey of his work ever held in the UK and it bridges over two decades of his extraordinary career.
Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing, The Royal Academy present some of his most important works from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Among new works created specifically for our galleries and courtyard are a number of large-scale installations, as well as works showcasing everything from marble and steel to tea and glass.
With typical boldness, the chosen works explore a multitude of challenging themes, drawing on his own experience to comment on creative freedom, censorship and human rights, as well as examining contemporary Chinese art and society.
19 Sept -13th Dec
The Royal Academy