Faurschou Foundation Beijing
Ai Weiwei and Liu Wei
Works from the Collection
13.10.11 - 26.02.12
The current show at Faurschou Foundation is the first show of works from the Faurschou Foundation collection, and thus marks the transition from commercial gallery to art foundation that Faurschou has now undergone.
With the establishment of Faurschou Foundation, Luise and Jens Faurschou are realizing a long-held dream of devoting all their time, skills and networks to expanding and developing their collection of contemporary art, and creating exhibitions of a high international standard, both at the existing premises here in Beijing, and at the new exhibition space in Copenhagen which will open next year in September with a solo show by Cai Guo-Qiang.
In the future the exhibitions at Faurschou Foundation in Beijing and in Copenhagen will take their point of departure in the collection, and Luise and Jens Faurschou will be creating new exhibitions in collaboration with some of the best contemporary artists, curators, museums and galleries all over the world.
For many years it has been the dream of Luise and Jens Faurschou to focus on the collection and its development, and the possibility of showing it. On the basis of the results and the collection created over the years, it has now become possible to realize this dream.
Faurschou Foundation currently presents works from the collection by Ai Weiwei and Liu Wei.
Entering the gallery the viewer is almost walking into Map of China, a large sculpture made out of Iron wood (Tieli wood) that Ai Weiwei has collected from dismantled temples of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Many of Ai Weiwei’s works from the past decade are made of local materials and of antique Chinese objects, Neolithic pottery, tables and chairs from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, wood, doors and windows from demolished temples and traditional houses, freshwater pearls, tea, marble, stone, bamboo etc. – ‘ready-mades’ translated into a conceptual, post-minimalist idiom.
Ai Weiwei points to the loss of culture by transforming the historical objects into something new – into moving and highly sensual contemporary artworks which thanks to their aesthetic beauty recirculate the meaning and history of these valuable cultural artifacts in the context of contemporary China.
From his recent grand-scale installation at TATE Modern in London earlier this year a field of porcelain handmade Sunflower Seeds covers the floor.
At TATE Modern Ai Weiwei installed a 100-ton thick layer of sunflower seeds on the floor – 100 million seeds – all made of porcelain produced and painted by hand in Jingdezhen.
The number of seeds is overwhelming, and yet 100 million is not even that many in the Chinese context. It is precisely in China that it is possible to produce such a labour-intensive work – and the work is very much about the relationship between the mass and the individual, and about China’s increasing dominance in the world economy.
Sunflower Seeds is an incredibly beautiful, poetic work, simple, and with many layers of meaning connected to Chinese history.
Ai Weiwei has in the past years been engaged in the loss of lives after the Sichuan Earthquake. Namelist of student earthquake victims found by the citizen investigation, 2008 - is the names of students who died in the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. The list has been collected by the citizen investigation volunteers. The date for the work is open ended as not all the identities of the students have been found out. Some names are not able to be found as entire families have disappeared after the earthquake. The government has never revealed the full list of victims of the earthquake, but only a number. The citizen investigation volunteer's aim is to give each number a name.
In the second part of the exhibition space – Don’t Touch by Liu Wei hangs suspended from the ceiling.
Composed of sewn together ox-hides, Liu Wei’s rendering of the Potala Palace in Tibet, Don’t Touch, is the largest work to date from the artist’s series of sculpted dog chews representing a disarray of global headquarters. The mock-ups demonstrate Liu Wei’s early interest in questions of power, the relationship between landscape and architecture and the material condition of the visual.
Standing higher than any other palace in the world at over 3,700 meters above sea level, the Potala Palace is a conspicuous but almost passé religious, political, and cultural symbol, presented to the world with pride and yet a stain on the reputation of many. Perhaps dispelling politicization, perhaps creating a fantastical pseudo-religious object, perhaps pointing to a dystopian mutation stemming from a larger social lack of spiritual direction, we can’t be sure. But Liu Wei “lets it hang”, and advises, irony intended, “Don’t touch”.