“natural objects have been an ongoing source of inspiration for Ai Weiwei, with trees recurring as a spiritual motif in his work since 2009”
Monumental wooden or iron multipartite sculptures are composites of different parts of different trees gathered by the artist from various parts of China in reference to the ancient Asian tradition of collecting dry fragments of trees for contemplation of their complex forms.
Fragments also play an important part in Ai Weiwei’s work as they force attention on foundational elements and the most basic units that combine to create a whole. Here, in line with the artist’s worldview, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts but rather each individual part is equal and of unique importance.
By eliminating their original function and value, Ai Weiwei imbues the objects with new meaning and forces us to confront them in a new light.
Design: Peter Willberg