Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace
1 October – 14 December 2014
More than 50 works drawn from across the extraordinary career of the Chinese artist and social activist.
Blenheim Palace kicks off its inaugral contemporary art programme with this hugely exciting exhibition, surveying the work of one of the most eminent artists of current times.
A vocal critic of human rights in China, Ai Weiwei has not been able to leave the country since 2011 when his passport was confiscated by the authorities. This show has therefore been realised by the collaboration of the artist and the Blenheim Art Foundation team, using 3D plans and models of the site and grounds.
Spanning the last three decades' of Ai's work, the exhibition features some of his earliest photography, taken when he was starting out in New York in the 1980s. This is shown alongside Marble Surveillance Camera from 2010; a poignant reminder of the artist's current situation.
Seminal artworks on display will include Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads; Ai's reinterpretation of the legendary bronze zodiac head statues that once surrounded the fountain-clock at Emperor Yuanming Yuan’s Beijing imperial retreat. In the Red Drawing Room there is a chance to see He Xie, which features 2300 small porcelain crabs.