Los Angeles Gallerist Jeffrey Deitch reflects on the existential aspects of Ai Weiwei: “Zodiac,” the inaugural exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch. Ai Weiwei’s work incorporates the art historical and cultural traditions of China and the West. The exhibition includes a multitude of three-legged stools whose design dates to the Ming Dynasty, evoking a landscape of displaced refugees. Thousands of Lego bricks are used to create imagery based on the sculptural Zodiac fountain, addressing the complex history or relations between China and the West. Other works in the exhibition are the “Ton of Tea,” a cube compressed from a virtual room full of tea; a treasure box made using techniques of traditional Chinese marquetry, inspired by the treasure boxes of the Chinese Emperors; “Grapes,” a large sculpture balanced on the three legs of a single stool; and a series of open spheres based on the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most influential contemporary artists, admired and scrutinized for both the power of his work and for his courageous moral voice. Ai was born in Beijing in 1957, son of the revered poet Ai Qing, who was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. After attending the Beijing Film Academy, Ai moved to New York in 1983, remaining in the city until his return to Beijing in 1993. Ai currently lives in Berlin where he is Einstein Visiting Professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. Recent projects include the documentary film Human Flow (2017) about the global refugee crisis, and his city-wide exhibition with the Public Art Fund in New York, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (2017-18). His exhibition about the forced evacuation of refugees on the border of Greece and Macedonia, Laundromat, was presented at Jeffrey Deitch, New York in 2016. The artist’s largest exhibition to date opened at Oca in São Paulo in October 2018.
Crew Credits –
Creator and Executive Producer – Hernan Diaz Alonso
Producers – Marcelyn Gow/Reza Monahan
Director – Reza Monahan
Director of Photography – Armeen Monahan
B Camera – Robert Moreno
C Camera – Tyler Denering
Lighting – Jeff Christiani
Sound Engineer – Scotty Tipton
Story Producer – Caroline Post
Editors – Cal Crawford/Reza Monahan
Soundtrack by: Dave Abramson and Steve Schmitt
Special thanks to: Melahn Frierson and Sean Morris