La Commedia Umana – Memento Mori (solo show)
Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
28 August – 27 November 2022
In collaboration with the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore – Benedicti Claustra Onlus, Berengo Studio and Fondazione Berengo, Ai Weiwei will present an array of never before seen glass sculptures as part of a new solo exhibition at the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. Alongside the presentation of works in porcelain, wood, and LEGO, the centrepiece of the exhibition is La Commedia Umana, an enormous hanging sculpture comprised of over 2,000 pieces of black glass handcrafted by the maestros of Berengo Studio in Murano. Measuring more than six metres wide and almost nine metres high, the twisted monument is the largest hanging sculpture ever made in Murano glass in living history. The work is an ‘attempt to talk about death in order to celebrate life’, the artist explains.
Making Sense (solo show)
The Design Museum, London
7 April – 30 July 2023
Ai Weiwei’s first exhibition focusing on design will mix recent works with commissioned pieces, inviting visitors into a meditation on value and humanity, art and activism. This major exhibition at London’s Design Museum, developed in collaboration with the artist, will be the first to present his work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values. Drawing from material culture, historical Chinese artefacts, and the more recent history of demolition and urban development in China, Ai explores the tension between past and present, hand and machine, construction and destruction. The exhibition will include a number of site-specific installations, comprising hundreds of thousands of objects collected by the artist in the past year, from LEGO bricks to neolithic stone tools. The artist’s largest ever work made out of LEGO will also be on display.
Chief curator at the Design Museum Justin McGuirk expands: ‘[The show includes] things we think of as worthless in ordinary times, something as worthless as a toilet roll, which during the pandemic suddenly became precious… that for him was a real signal of how objects can gain and lose value depending on the context of our times [...] we are not presenting Ai Weiwei as a designer and architect... [but] using his work and his thinking to reflect on design and architecture.’
A Conversation with Ai Weiwei (talk)
SQUARE, University of St. Gallen
30 January 2023, 7–8:30 pm (CET)
On Monday, 30 January 2023, the organisation SQUARE will host an in conversation event with Ai Weiwei alongside art market expert Laura Noll and Square director Philippe Narval to discuss his his thought-provoking, socially conscious artwork, and provide insight into his ideas on how art and activism can shape politics and business.Following the discussion attendees will have the opportunity to meet with and speak to Ai Weiwei.
Ego vici mvndvm (installation)
Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
14 January – 18 June 2023
Ai Weiwei’s new LEGO work, Untitled (Saint George slaying the dragon), is now on view in the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. Commissioned for the altar of the Benedictine cloister’s conclave chapel, the project reimagines Vittore Carpaccio’s renowned sixteenth century altarpiece Saint George Killing the Dragon, which is usually housed in the chapel but is out on loan until June 2023. Constructed entirely of LEGO bricks, Ai Weiwei’s replacement communicates with the historical and spiritual context in which it is temporarily inserted, drawing a dialogue between the Benedictine tradition and contemporary art.
The project takes as its title a quote from the Gospel of John inscribed along the frieze of the Chapel: Ego vici mvndvm (In this world you have troubles, but take heart: I have overcome the world!) 16,33. The artist thus establishes a link with the biblical episode represented, a paradigm of a definitive victory of Good over Evil, which can also be considered as an emblem of political and social activism in defence of human rights – a central tenet of the artist’s practice.
Ai Weiwei, Richard Prince
From Here, For Now (group show)
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
5 November 2022 – 12 February 2023
From Here, For Now presents works by Australian and international artists from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, exploring interrelated themes that are relevant to our current moment. Connecting Australia’s outback as a signifier of national identity with American stereotypes of outsiders, and hidden histories, the exhibition touches on selfhood, the human body, and questions of political urgency.
Art Gallery of NSW
Ai Weiwei receives the Praemium Imperiale Prize
We congratulate Ai Weiwei on being awarded the Praemium Imperiale Prize 2022 by the Japan Art Association.
Praemium Imperiale Prize
Ai Weiwei et al.
Forest: Wake this Ground (group show)
9 July – 2 October, 2022
Ai Weiwei's monumental work Palace, from Roots series, 2019, is featured in a group exhibition at the Arnolfini, Bristol, which brings together artists, writers, filmmakers and composers from across the globe. Titled Forest: Wake this Ground, the exhibition presents works that recycle, reuse and repurpose resources, revealing the forests’ ancient rhythms, as well as exploring stories, myths, and folktales, passed down between people over centuries.
Cast from the ancient and endangered Pequi Vinagreiro tree (found in the Bahian rainforest), Ai Weiwei’s upended sculpture reflect both the uprootedness of arboreal species and the displacement of people.
Arc, 2017, installed in Stockholm in collaboration with Brilliant Minds (temporary installation)
Ai Weiwei's iconic Arch, 2017, has been installed outside the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm as part of the Brilliant Minds foundation’s public art series in the Swedish capital. The monumental, 40ft tall cage sculpture was first shown in Washington Square Park, New York in 2017.
Ai Weiwei additionally features among the speakers at the annual Brilliant Minds forum later this year.
Ai Weiwei et al.
Air (group show)
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City
16 July – 11 December 2022
Work by Ai Weiwei is included in the group presentation Air at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City. Acquired by the museum earlier this year, the work The Way Follows Nature, 2021 will be on view at the museum until 11 December, 2022.
In Search of Humanity (solo show)
Albertina Modern, Vienna
16 March – 4 September 2022
The Albertina Modern presents the first comprehensive museum exhibition in Vienna dedicated to Ai Weiwei, an outstanding artistic voice of our time, a ceaseless activist, a proud critic of authoritarian systems and a truthful poet. In Search of Humanity extensively examines the aspect of humanity and artistic responsibility within Ai Weiwei’s oeuvre.
The exhibition highlights concepts such as: surveillance, censorship, human rights, freedom of expression, human displacement, radical responsibility, the power of beauty and the truth of poetry. Guided through these lines of thought the exhibition offers new tools to understand the relevance of Ai Weiwei’s artistic language, which comprises a wide array of art historical paradigms (such as the readymade) alongside more radical activist strategies, all of which are devoted to fathom the extremes of the contemporary human condition on a global scale. An impressive selection of works from the artist’s over three-decade career shall shed a light on Ai Weiwei as a preeminent figure within the contemporary art world.
A catalogue has been published to accompany this exhibition. Get your copy here.
Intertwine. Pequi Tree, Roots, and Human Figures (solo show)
Serralves Museum, Porto
23 July 2021 – 9 July 2022
At Serralves Ai Weiwei presents a body of work that reflects his interest in the environment and his concerns regarding the deforestation of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Ai’s sculptures represent what remains of once green giants and are referents for the present consequences of the rapacious conversion of the natural environment. As we contemplate these roots, we understand the value of forests, the lungs of the world that provide the oxygen we need to breathe. To preserve these rapidly dwindling resources is a critical issue for the future of people on Earth. In the Serralves Park we will see for the first time Pequi Tree, a 32-meter-high iron tree that stands witness to the disappearance of the harmonious co-existence between human beings and nature; moulded in Brazil, cast in China, and now installed in the Park, this work went from wood to metal and from mortal to eternal as a piece of evidence and a monument.
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows. A Memoir (publication)
In his widely anticipated memoir, Ai Weiwei tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, Ai Qing, the nation’s most celebrated poet. At once ambitious and intimate, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.
Get your copy here.