Ai Weiwei: According to What Joseph Morris

Ai Weiwei: According to What? came to the Royal Ontario Museum. I was completely blown away by the entire exhibit. His political stance on China helped me to understand their issues better.

China Log 2005

Ai Weiwei China Log 2005 Joseph Morris

The log was made out of salvaged pieces from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). They were fastened together using traditional Chinese joining techniques.

He Xie 2010

Ai Weiwei He Xie Joseph Morris

“He Xie” is a term used to describe Chinese censorship of the Internet. The crabs are made out of porcelain.

Straight 2008

Ai Weiwei Straight Art Gallery of Ontario

The rods were from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. 38 tons of twisted rebar were straightened back out and placed in an artistic, cascading fashion. It’s unbelievable how many hours of labour it took to make this piece. And the reasoning behind it was profound. It was to commemorate and recognize all of the people who died. Something that the Chinese government refused to do.

Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn 1995/2009 (background) and Colored Vases 2007–2010 (foreground)

Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn Joseph Morris

Ai Weiwei played a lot with traditional chinese customs. In his tryptych, he featured frames of him dropping a Han Dynasty urn. In the foreground were Han Dynasty vases that were painted over using modern colours. The painted over urns suggested Western culture influencing Chinese norms. Both pieces spoke of (quite literally) breaking traditions.

Ai Weiwei is currently under house arrest by the Chinese government.