Palazzo Strozzi in Florence presents Italy’s first major retrospective dedicated to one of the world’s most celebrated and influential contemporary artists, Ai Weiwei.
A dissident artist with a leading voice, Ai Weiwei has become a leading voice on the international art scene and China’s most famous living artist. Known for his political activism and meticulous artistic research, Ai Weiwei has also become a symbol of resistance against censorship.
Running till 22 January 2017, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence presents Italy’s first major retrospective dedicated to one of the world’s most celebrated and influential contemporary artists, Ai Weiwei.
This major exhibition includes key monumental installations, sculptures and objects, as well as videos and photography series produced throughout his career. These range from his years living in New York 1980s and ’90s when he discovered his ‘masters’ Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp, to the
large iconic assemblages works from the early 2000s consisting of objects such as bicycles and stools, to his recent controversial and engaged works such as portraits of political dissidents built with LEGO bricks, and his projects on migration in the Mediterranean region.
Ai Weiwei is the first artist to exhibit across the entirety of the Palazzo Strozzi spaces, presenting a series of new and major works from the façade of the building and the courtyard to the piano nobile and the Strozzina gallery, mirroring the artist’s relationship between tradition and modernity, key works will be hung in response to the architecture of the Palazzo Strozzi, a 15th century palace built as a political statement, and is considered to embody the history of the city of Florence.
The art show at The Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy offers the opportunity to explore Ai Weiwei’s creative genius but also to understand his personal narrative, offering critical insight to Ai Weiwei’s ambiguous relations with his native China. Ai Weiwei denounces the inconsistencies and gaps between the individual and the community in today’s world and has a profound sense of belonging, as illustrated by his use of traditional materials and techniques. Equally, a strong sense of rebellion informs his interpretations of traditional Chinese images and metaphors.
Alongside this major retrospective “Ai Weiwei. Libero,” Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence is organizing “Around Ai Weiwei: Photographs 1983-2016, an exhibition curated by Davide Quadrio and staged at CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia in Torino (28 October 2016 – 12 February 2017, Via delle Rosine 18, 10123 Torino).
Along an exhibition itinerary that includes photographic and video materials, with a number of documents never seen before, Around A Weiwei highlights the various stages of the artistic career of A Weiwei – a provocative and outspoken figure – investigating not only his artistic poetics from
his debut right up to the present day, but also his role in the cultural, social and political debate, both in China and throughout the world. The exhibition explores the genesis of A Weiwei as a public figure and as an icon of the Asiatic world, as well as stimulating a reflection on the way in which the contemporary environment has transformed him and thus pondering ‘who’ A Weiwei has become.