"Liberty is our right to question everything." Ai WeiWei
Today I visited the Ai WeiWei exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly. Although aware of WeiWei’s progressive thinking and influence on Chinese society, I was not expecting it to be one of the best exhibitions I have ever been to. To me, this man defines ‘bravery’ as he fully encompasses the point of art and of social media.
"I want people to see their own power” Ai WeiWei
His awareness and ability to harness of the power of social media ripples down in to the behaviour of audience as they are allowed to interact with his art. As well as being encouraged to walk amongst his beautiful, ingenious political statements, people were allowed to photograph everything. Every person who shares an image, helps spread WeiWei’s message, and upon stepping back and noticing how many people were taking multiple images of his show, the magnitude of this becomes clear.
“The internet is uncontrollable,” he said. “And if the internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It’s as simple as that.” This is reflected as his art plays with the language of western culture.
"What is historical and what isn't? And does it matter?" The image on the left (above) shows WeiWei smashing an ancient vessel. WeiWei takes historical materials, moments, and objects and blurs them with modern culture. Here he has taken an ancient vessel and painted the world renowned ‘Coca-Cola’ logo on to it. Here he has taken art, an ancient form of expression, and combined it with social media, a modern platform for expression.
His philosophical sense of humour towards life isn’t lost as WeiWei’s expresses his social and political statements. He creates a CCTV camera and his own film camera out of marble with the reflection "Both are powerful, yet useless”.
"The art always wins. Anything can happen to me, but the art will stay.” Ai WeiWei