Monday, July 4, 2016

Ai Weiwei at Cycladic at Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation, Museum of Cycladic Art

Ai Weiwei at Cycladic
at Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation, Museum of Cycladic Art
May 20, 2016 - Oct 30, 2016
The Museum of Cycladic Art (MCA) in Athens unveils Ai Weiwei at Cycladic (20 May – 30 Oct 2016), the artist’s first major exhibition in Greece which includes a new artwork that responds to the museum’s collection. This is the artist’s first exhibition in an archaeological museum and follows a close collaboration between Ai Weiwei and the MCA. Significant works by the Chinese artist are displayed among the museum’s renowned permanent collection. The exhibition introduces Ai’s practice to the Greek audience through some of his most canonical works and highlights his most recent activities from the past months that he has spent in Greece documenting the refugee crisis.

The exhibition looks at his recurring use of particular materials which draw parallels with Greek counterparts, such as wood and marble. Amongst the iconic pieces on display are Divina Proportione (2012), Mask (2011), Cao (2014) and Grapes (2011). Among the new works created for the show is Standing Figure (2016), a life-size sculpture made entirely out of marble which alludes to a style prevalent in the Early Cycladic era. In a personal interpretation of Cycladic art, Ai has augmented the scale, thus transforming the modest Cycladic figurine into a towering deity. In reference to his own infamous triptych of photographs Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995), the sculpture has outstretched arms and a vessel hovering below, alluding to the destruction of Chinese antique objects that took place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. These works displayed within the MCA highlight the way in which contemporary art can converse with artefacts from the past.

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