So today's weekend challenge involved me going to the Royal Academy of Arts. They have had some art work by a Chinese artist Ai Weiwei since September and I've been wanting to go to it since. Trust me to head there on the last weekend so to say it was busy would be an understatement.Luckily for me, the company I work for is a "Friend of the Academy" so not only did I not have to pay for the exhibition (£16/adult) I didn't have to queue, which was great because the queues were long. Anyway, I headed in and it was packed, it made seeing some of the videos extremely difficult or even seeing some of the exhibits. The first piece of artwork that you see when you walk into the courtyard is called Tree. And it's exactly that, trees that were made from dead wood from the south of China. From that, I was already really excited to see the rest of it. Walked up the stairs and headed to the first exhibition room. Being the last weekend it was really packed, so it was difficult to take clear empty pictures, I think next time I'll need to go earlier in the exhibition. Anyway, here is Grapes, I thought the piece was amazing because of how it's been constructed, the whole time I was there, I was thinking what would happen if one of the legs was wobbly 😉. The next piece, Straight, almost made me cry. In 2008, there was an earthquake in Sichuan, China. The effects were devastating, many lives lost, millions changed. Straight is a dedication to the lives that were lost. The rods were part of 200 tonnes of steel that was bought from many rubble places and then made into this. On the walls were the same of all the people that had died in the earthquake, I looked at some of the names and some were my age 😭. I thought this was the best part of it.
Crab house is actually part of the wall from Ai Weiwei's demolished studio in Shanghai. The Government were trying to make a statement, he still saw beauty through it. The next piece, I need to apologise in advance. So when i saw it, I was like wow, coloured urns. I didn't realise that it was part of a bigger picture, one where Ai was actually breaking an urn in black and white pictures. But it wasn't until I had actually left and was in the shop that i noticed it, so maybe let's call it an unfinished picture 😉.
The exhibit before the final section was a room with 6 blocks. These blocks were a replication of his experience in prison where he was. In all 6 blocks, he was doing something different, showing what he went through at that time. I only managed to see one of them, I wasn't patient enough to queue for all 6.
I loved this exhibition. It has a sense of a rebel to it,no matter what happened to Ai Weiwei, he fought back, but he did it through art. His exhibitions are sought after throughout the world "arty" world and I feel privileged to have been able to go to it.