Ai Weiwei - Odyssey
Offset print on paper
Produced for the Public Art Fund
From the edition of 1000
36” x 24”
Ai Weiwei is an activist, architect, curator, filmmaker, and China’s most famous artist. As an activist, he calls attention to human rights violations on an epic scale; as an artist, he expands the definition of art to include new forms of social engagement. In a country where free speech is not recognized as a right, the police have beaten him up, kept him under house arrest, bulldozed his newly-built studio and subjected him to surveillance. He is viewed as a threat to "harmonious society."
Some of Ai’s best known works are installations, often tending towards the conceptual and sparking dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production. For Sunflower Seeds (2010) at the Tate Modern, he scattered 100 million porcelain “seeds” handpainted by 1,600 Chinese artisans—a commentary on mass consumption and the loss of individuality. His infamous Coca Cola Vase (1994) is a Han Dynasty urn emblazoned with the ubiquitous soft-drink logo.
In the print offered here, Ai Weiwei calls attention to our shared humanity by adapting the style of classical Greek friezes and vase paintings to depict the many forms of the contemporary global refugee condition. This print was created on the occasion of his citywide exhibition in New York Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, which runs through February 2018. It is based on a monumental work of the same title featured in the exhibition.