Nov 16, 2011

"Wei Wei Who?" "未未谁?"

If you've been following the news lately, or are working in a creative industry, you cannot NOT know who Ai Weiwei is!

Weiwei was recently named Artview's most powerful person in the art world, and is also in TIME magazine's Top 100 people of 2011, which is why I was really surprised when friends back in Australia only gave a 'huh?' response when I rambled on about his recent issues with the Communist Party of China. And when I accused them for living under a rock, the response was, "Hah...you're becoming too Chinese...who knows what's going on there?!" SIGH! That seems to be what everyone's been telling me when I go on about stuff going on around here!

Now, if you're clueless about who he is, I'll be nice and tell you a bit about him. :)

Weiwei is an artist, photographer and curator, best known for designing the Beijing Olympics Bird's Nest Stadium, a collaboration with Swiss starchitects Herzog and DeMeuron.


One of his most controversial works, "Dropping the Urn", shows photos of Weiwei nonchalantly dropping a priceless Han Dynasty urn. I'm not sure how you'd intepret it, but when asked, Weiwei said he did this on a whim, 'to show how gravity works'. Whoa. An apple would've been cheaper. I can't help but wonder how he was like as a kid. His poor mother!

Another famous piece by Weiwei was his installation in the Tate Museum in London in 2010, 'Sunflower Seeds'.

At first glance it doesn't look like much - but take a closer look and you might notice that these are not actual seeds; they are hand-painted replicas made of porcelain. Weiwei gathered 1,600 people to to individually hand-make one hundred million seeds, to speak about the mass-production, 'Made in China' phenomenon taking place today.

I was inspired last weekend to do a portrait of Weiwei. Initially the idea was to just do a small A4 sized portrait of him, but then I thought I'd bring my materials out to the little lanes of my longtang and do a portrait of him in public...what an attention-seeker, huh? But Ai Weiwei does that too! Oh, guess what medium I used? No, not paint - that's so BOH-RING! - I collected 100,000/7kgs of sunflower seeds, and this is what I did:
My curious neighbours came over to check out what I was up to!

...and more curious people gathered around! Eventually, someone said, 'Hey! That's that Beijing artist...Ai Weiwei!' WHEW! At least someone could tell!


Da Popo: "Hmm...he looks cross-eyed. I think you need to move that eyeball to the right."

"Yes, much better!"


39 comments:

  1. I can't stop to say this!

    You are freaking awesome with those talent within u!

    meitzeu

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  2. Seriously... you have a gift.. a talent and I can see you going places.

    It would be awesome to see you taking your talent to a whole new level!!

    Can't wait for your next project!

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  4. don't you think destroying a rare priceless vase is a terrible crime? but i guess tt's how he got attention

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  5. BLOWN AWAY, Hong Yi!! All the photos in the post are absolutely stunning, seriously.........!

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  6. Hi Yi! You're really talented!!
    I like this art works you do, a lot!!
    I like your thoughts!
    Greetings!
    Laura

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  7. Awesome! i admired your talent! - i am a Msian just relocated to Shanghai as well. Perhaps we can catch up one day :)

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  8. Wow Hong Yi. That was amazing. Who care if it grabs attention. ha ha ha. Gifts should be shared with the world and I like your attitude of appreciating others with your little notes around town. really cool!!!!

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  9. speechlesss...- its amazing.. u are very very talented...

    i admired you a lot Hong Yi...!!

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  10. great work hongyi! love your work! more of this pls!! :P

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  11. It's an awesome piece of artwork you did over there. Great inspiration, brilliant ideas by Weiwei, he did the extreme to prove a point.

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  12. Hm... this fella hasn't made is WEI to the U.S. yet :)

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  13. (Came over from Terri's blog)

    Very well done! I am impressed. Did you feed him to the birds later?

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  14. Dropping by just to say how talented you are (very pretty too) and how I much I enjoy reading your blog. Two thumbs up!
    -Claudia.

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  15. Love your work - great job! Using sunflower seeds was a great choice. Nobody bothered you about it?

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  16. I first saw this post in Daily Obsession. It's really cool what you did.

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  17. that's cool hongyi! more to pop up arts around china! :D

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  18. Awesome work, girl.. Wow..! Nice face.., oh, the art work is not too shabby either ;-)

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  19. Hey Hong Yi!

    It's Rosie here, do you remember me from architecture days?

    Fantastic portrait you did there, it's a very brave thing to do something like that in China. Were you scared?

    Your blog is great, and I have been going through some of the photos. I am a Shanghai native myself and it has changed a lot over the years..

    Keep up the great work! xx

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  20. thank you ppl! overwhelmed by the support and encouragement! =-)

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    1. I like RED, my favourite colour being a Chinese. You are very beautiful and talented. I love basket ball so I was expecting to see you do more pictures using a basketball. What's a nice surprise to see you using sunflower seeds. I also see in you a very talented writer and journalist. We get all in one. Keep up with the good work of art. You are a new born and unique all rounded artist.

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  21. go red! i want to see more art works from u!

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  22. wow, this is amazing! you definitely have talent :)
    do you do this for fun??

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  23. talented and intelligent. And funny. With the first two making you even more gorgeous!
    I'd so love to cook dinner for you, were you to pass through NY!

    Anyways, keep creating please, you are great!
    Francesco

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  24. Hello,
    I have been living in France for a couple of years now. Around me, nobody knows Ai Weiwei and very few people are interested in contemporary art. I have been myself an admirer of his work for years and I really enjoyed rediscovering this great artist through your post. Thank you and best of luck with your projects.

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  25. After Ai Wei Wei and his supporters dealt with the verdict of tax evasion, how would they respond to the equally absurd accusation that the artist has been “spreading pornography”?

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  26. This is so cool! but honestly would love to see his middle finger ;) - london

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  27. awesome..i really like this arts..!!!!congrates.^_^

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  28. i just want to ask something where did you learn all this thing?because i also an architecture student..

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  29. I've come over from Vsauce (youtube) who featured your coffee stained work. As an asian living in Australia, I can say that often the news is quite insular. One has to actively reach out and read about what's happening outside this country, otherwise they get too caught up in local news. A bit sad really.

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  30. Ai Weiwei is a Great Artist. It's a big dream of mine to know that it is free and teaching in Germany, UDK ...
    I do not know where to learn news of him, you Hong Yi has some good news from him? Here in Brazil say they have a large exhibition of it, but still do not know when ... I'm looking forward to this very day ... your works are beautiful Hong Yi - great success for you and your family!

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  31. just wow. I have massive respect for you for all of your work.. I've only scrolled this far through to know that I like what you do. I'm massively into Photo-mosaics as well as loving the work of Ai Weiwei, I've done a few already but would like to get to your kinda scale. I don't know if you get to read these things.. but hey. :)

    How did you get into photo mosaics? Cos you're doing a bloody good job!

    good luck for the future :)

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