In years to come Ai Weiwei will be seen as one of the most important artists, not just in this generation but in any generation. His influence and impact are felt on so many different levels and through his strong political statements and his ongoing battles against his oppression at the hands of his own nation’s government.
Weiwei is a clever man clearly and the mediums he use to speak to the wider world as well as his fellow countryman allows him to inject very blatant signposts as well as very subtle nuances, allowing the audience to really understand his work but to also take their own meaning from it.
The scale and variety at his latest exhibition in Berlin at the Martin Gropius Bau is something to behold, from video, to music, to everyday items, to antiques, to debris from disasters. His show ‘Evidence’ gives a visual representation to what he has experienced in recent years and how his views and the Chinese government’s attempts to censor them have been dealt with, from his own incarceration, to his tax avoidance ‘fine’ to his investigations into those killed in disasters in his homeland. There is a exact copy of the cell in which he was kept 24 hours a day, watched by two guards at all time, for 81 days until international pressure meant he was released.
There is also a look back in time to the history of China and the secret cities created. The entire collection is something quite extraordinary, the scale alone is awesome but also the emotion transmitted through each piece is very potent.
If you can not make Berlin then a survey of Ai WeiWei is showing at the Lisson gallery now until July 16