Ai Weiwei (b. 1957 in Beijing; lives and works in Berlin) is widely recognized around the globe for his conceptual installations that catalyze dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production.
The prolific artist, activist, architect, curator, and filmmaker has developed a body of work that, in addition to installation, encompasses sculpture, painting, photography, film, architecture, public art, and performance. Early subversive works addressed issues of authority and history. Today, Ai’s work continues to dissect humanity’s existence in relation to economic, political, natural, and social forces through craftsmanship and conceptual creativity. He often arrives at the root of contemporary human struggle by employing universal symbols of civilization and community, such as bicycles, flowers, and trees. Enduring global issues of borders and conflicts are given renewed potency through Ai’s thoughtful and powerful installations.
An outspoken human-rights activist who has openly criticized the Chinese government, Ai was arrested by Chinese authorities in April 2011 and detained for three months. He was released under house arrest, prohibited from traveling abroad or engaging in public speech, and subjected to extended periods of government surveillance. Ai’s position as a provocateur and dissident artist informs the tone of much of his recent work. The artist moves between modes of creation and investigation, including his extensive research into the global plight of refugees and forced migrants.
Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle, the culmination of ten years of effort, features work related to the artist’s diverse interests including mass production, antiquity, mythology, and the global refugee crisis.
This marks Ai’s first institutional exhibition in Los Angeles.