The Real Thing: Ai Weiwei born 1957

Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio Working Progress Fountain of Light 2007 two

Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio
Working Progress (Fountain of Light) 2007
Mixed media light installation

© Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio

Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio Working Progress Fountain of Light 2007 three

Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio
Working Progress (Fountain of Light) 2007
Mixed media light installation

© Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio

Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio Working Progress Fountain of Light 2007 one

Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio
Working Progress (Fountain of Light) 2007
Mixed media light installation

© Ai Weiwei and Fake Studio

The spectacular structure floating in the Albert Dock has been designed by Ai Weiwei (born 1957). Perhaps the most important artist working today in China, he has also developed innovative design and architectural projects for buildings and public spaces – including the Beijing Olympic Stadium.

Designed especially for Liverpool, Working Progress (Fountain of Light) takes the form of a spectacular chandelier, inspired by Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International 1919. Had Tatlin’s steel and iron glass-clad structure been built, it would have been a taller and more magnificent symbol of modernity than the Eiffel Tower. It was also a product of the era of industrialisation across Europe that shaped the modern world – and Liverpool especially. In referencing Tatlin’s iconic work, Ai Weiwei reminds us of the Constructivists’ Utopian ambitions for a brave new world, embodied in physical structures and amazing feats of architecture that would match the new age. The work can be seen as a symbol of the radical change currently taking place in China, as much as of the cultural and utopian ambitions that are transforming the city of Liverpool.

See also

Tate Modern Exhibition

The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds

12 Oct 2010 – 2 May 2011
Ai Weiwei's Unilever Series commission at Tate Modern, Sunflower Seeds, is made up of millions of hand-crafted porcelain seeds.
FREE
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Ai Weiwei in Conversation

One of China's greatest artists Ai Weiwei is in conversation with Katie Hill, curator and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary ...

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TateShots: Ai Weiwei, one-to-one

For Ai Wewei the act of individuals voicing opinions and communicating with one another is of great importance