Ai Weiwei's first solo exhibition in China
will open its doors at 2pm this Saturday, Time Out
The exhibition, which will be shown across two galleries, Tang Contemporary Art Center and Galleria Continua in 798, was originally due to begin last week, on May 30. The galleries said the postponement was 'due to technical delay'.
Since this is Ai Weiwei, without a doubt the world's most famous Chinese artist and China's most controversial, we might take that with a pinch of salt, were it not for the fact that Ai's new show is a breathtaking technical feat.
Within the galleries' spaces, he has reconstructed, piece by piece, a traditional Anhui-style building.
To fit it in he had to knock down walls and move glass windows out of Galleria Continua, making the gallery's entire staff office-less in the process, and recruit four teams of designers, classical architecture experts and builders to take the building down and put it back together again.
Galleria Continua, under construction
In our recent interview with Ai
, the artist told us that he got the idea to exhibit the building, which includes traditional details like the stone cross piece below, after visiting his father's hometown for the first time.
'[These buildings] were a microcosm of the society in China,' Ai told us, 'all of the ritual and understanding of society, all the politics, and social discussions... it functioned as a very important unit in the sense of community.'
However, you feel about the meaning behind it, the building, shown in photo negative on the cover of our June magazine
, is undeniably impressive.
You have until September 6 to see it for yourself, though, given Ai's enduring ability to garner controversy, getting down there early might be wise.
As the artist himself told us when we asked about his new show: '...I always say my life is a show. So we artists have to wrap it together [the work and its meaning], otherwise my work has no meaning. It's just a bunch of materials that the wind will blow away – Beijing has a strong wind.'