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Ai Weiwei prepares major new installations for international exhibition


Gao Yuan. Image: Ai Weiwei, 2012.

Melbourne, Australia: In addition to more than 120 works spanning the career of Ai Weiwei, several major new installations being developed by Ai Weiwei especially for the exhibition Andy Warhol|Ai Weiwei have been announced.

The installations include a major new five metre-tall work from Ai’s chandelier series of crystal and light; a spectacular new installation in the form of a large bed of hundreds of delicate, intricately designed white porcelain flowers; a new room scale installation featuring portraits of Australian advocates for human rights and freedom of speech and information; and a series of new works developed especially by Ai Weiwei in response to key works by Andy Warhol.


Andy Warhol in Tiananmen Square, 1982. Image: Christopher Makos.

The exhibition Andy Warhol|Ai Weiwei will survey the scope of both artists’ careers and present more than 300 works, including new commissions, immersive installations and a wide representation of painting, sculpture, film, photography, music, publishing and social media.

‘I believe this is a very interesting and important exhibition. It is an honour for me to have the opportunity to be exhibited alongside Andy Warhol and a great privilege for me as an artist,” said Ai Weiwei.


Ai Weiwei, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1983, from the series New York Photographs, 1983–93. Image: Ai Weiwei.

The new commissions will include:

  • Forever Bicycles 2015: a major new installation in Ai Weiwei’s Forever bicycles series, designed specifically for the NGV, and composed from over 1400 bicycles marking the entrance to the exhibition;
  • Blossom 2015: a spectacular new installation in the form of a large bed of hundreds of delicate, intricately designed white porcelain flowers that continue the artist’s engagement with traditional Chinese porcelain production;
  • A new work from the Chandelier series 2015: a major new five-metre tall chandelier of crystal and light;
  • A new room-scale installation featuring portraits of Australian advocates and activists noted for their championing of human rights, freedom of speech and information.
  • Caonima Balloons and Bird Balloons 2015: A new floating inflatable work and accompanying wallpaper installation is being developed by Ai Weiwei in response to Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds 1966 and Cows Wallpaper 1966. The immersive floating figures of a Caonima (or Grass Mud Horse) and bird will welcome visitors at the entrance to the exhibition galleries.
  • With Flowers project, 2013-15: Since 2013 Ai Weiwei has placed a fresh bunch of flowers daily into the basket of a bicycle situated outside his Beijing studio, for the benefit of the CCTV cameras trained upon his studio entrance. The images of the bike were posted to the artist’s social media feeds each day. This seemingly innocent act of urban beautification showed an irrepressible spirit of worldly engagement in the face of government surveillance and restrictions on his freedom to travel. The project concluded upon the return of Ai Weiwei’s passport and freedom to travel in July 2015. The NGV will represent the With flowers project as a feature of the exhibition.

Ai Weiwei, Forever bicycles, 2011. Installation view at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2011. Image: Ai Weiwei studio.

The exhibition is presented in association with The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, and the studio of Ai Weiwei.