Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei Sunflower Seeds

Health concerns have changed a London installation from interactive to “Look but don’t touch.”

At Tate Modern, Seeds of Discontent by the Ton 
LONDON — Last Wednesday I had a close encounter with “Sunflower Seeds,” the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s oceanic new installation piece in the cavernous Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern here. The work consists of roughly 100 million hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds covering a vast expanse of floor to the depth of about four inches, and visitors were invited to wade right in. The black-and-white seeds crunched delightfully underfoot, and the whole thing resembled an indoor pebble beach, with people strolling about and then plunking down to sit or recline. One young man had buried himself. read more

Ai Weiwei quotes: "It's a work about mass production and repeatedly accumulating the small effort of individuals to become a massive, useless piece of work."   "China is blindly producing for the demands of the market . . . My work very much relates to this blind production of things. I'm part of it, which is a bit of a nonsense."  more