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Photo: Wallpaper

The Royal Academy has extended opening hours for the last four weeks of its Ai Weiwei exhibition. Late nights on Saturdays and then for the first time, ever, an entire weekend. Might not be so busy at 5am on a Sunday morning… Anyhow. I  like the way Ai Weiwei pulls lots of elements into his work: politics, history, reclaimed materials. His thought-provoking art tells a story. Straight, an installation of steel rods recovered from the remains of shoddily built schools, in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, is particularly moving. The metal rods, painstakingly knocked back into shape by hand, are accompanied by the names of 5000 dead children.

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Photo: Rebecca Reid

But there are things here that will bring a wry smile, like the wallpaper decorated with gold surveillance cameras, handcuffs and Twitter logos:

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The Ai Weiwei exhibition is ace. Book early, it’s going to be busy.

8 thoughts on “Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy

  1. Hi Alyson, I read many English blogs and am always so envious of the access to contemporary and traditional art Londoners are able to enjoy. I live in Sydney and went to Melbourne to see the V&A Bowie exhibition and saw that Ai Wei Wei (the exhibition) is coming to Australia this summer – so another excursion will be planned. Greatly enjoyed the Bowie with lots of documentation tracking the depth of his creativity and enormous output without really permeating the enigma of Bowie. Also this summer, exhibitions of Grayson Perry and masterpieces from The National Galleries of Scotland will be in Sydney. So a very unusual feast for us plus the cricket. I finally bought the ASOS cheapie leopard print scarf – its polyester silk but great for the price. cheers Yvonne

  2. That sounds fantastic – I loved the Bowie exhibition, Ai Weiwei is definitely worth the trip and Grayson Perry is brilliant. Thanks for letting me know about the scarf, I’ve been meaning to order one to check the quality but haven’t got round to it, yet. So it’s good to know.

  3. I have been fortunate to see this twice as a RA member. It’s a really important show of his ideas and work elegantly presented. It gives a good sense of his sculptural work and contains new work dealing with his incarceration. So fortunate that he’s now able to live in Berlin where his young son is and maintain a studio there. Check out the Royal Academy website for video clips and blogs about Ai Weiwei and his work. Plus it’s free to wander into the Academy courtyard on Picadilly to see the impressive bolted together tree installation and dark marble armchair.

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