Marciano Art Foundation celebrates the third MAF Project in the Theater Gallery, a solo exhibition of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
Life Cycle, 2018 Image courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio and Marciano Art Foundation, Ai Weiwei,
This exhibition is Ai’s first major institutional exhibition in Los Angeles and will feature the new and unseen work Life Cycle (2018) – a sculptural response to the global refugee crisis. The exhibition will also present iconic installations Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Spouts (2015) within the Foundation’s Theater Gallery.
On view for the first time in the Black Box, Life Cycle (2018) references the artist’s 2017 monumental sculpture Law of the Journey, Ai’s response to the global refugee crisis, which used inflatable, black PVC rubber to depict the makeshift boats used to reach Europe. In this new iteration, Life Cycle depicts an inflatable boat through the technique used in traditional Chinese kite-making, exchanging the PVC rubber for bamboo.
Suspended around the boat installation are figures crafted from bamboo and silk. In 2015, Ai began creating these figures based on mythic creatures from the Shanhaijing, or Classic of Mountains and Seas. The classic Chinese text compiles mythic geography and myth; versions of the Shanhaijing have existed since the 4th century B.C. These works are crafted in Weifang, a Chinese city in Shandong province with a tradition of kite-making dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
Life Cycle, 2018 Image courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio and Marciano Art Foundation, Ai Weiwei
Windows (2015), which hangs along the perimeter of the Black Box, draws from Chinese mythology, the tales and illustrations of the Shanhaijing, the history of 20th-century art, and the life and works of the artist. This multifaceted installation is a continuation of Ai’s ongoing engagement with politics and social justice. It follows the release of his feature-length documentary, Human Flow (2017), which depicts the refugee crisis on film. In the artist’s op-ed for the Guardian in February 2018, he writes, “I was a child refugee. I know how it feels to live in a camp, robbed of my humanity. Refugees must be seen as an essential part of our shared humanity.”
In the Theater Gallery, Sunflower Seeds (2010), is composed of 49 tons of individual porcelain sunflower seeds made by 1600 artisans from an ancient porcelain production center in Jingdezhen, in China’s Jiangxi province. Spouts (2015) piles together thousands of antique teapot spouts dating as far back to the Song dynasty (960–1279).
Admission to all exhibitions at MAF is free; Hours: Thursday, Friday and Sunday 11am – 5pm and Saturday 10am–6pm. Closed Monday and national holidays. Open for school groups on Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment
On view: September 28, 2018 — March 3, 2019
Where: Marciano Art Foundation, 4357 Wilshire Boulevard, LA, 90010
Phone: (424) 204.7555