Renowned for his political activism and social-media activity as much as his social interventions, contemporary approach to the readymade, and knowledge of Chinese traditional crafts, Ai Weiwei’s fame extends throughout the art world and beyond.
This monograph (Taschen) explores the artist’s career up to his recent release from Chinese custody. It features extensive visual material to trace his development from his early New York days through to his recent practice. Focus moments include his international breakthrough in the early 2000s, his porcelain Sunflower Seeds at the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, his response to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 and the Chinese government’s cover-up, and his police detention in 2011.
With behind-the-scenes studio pictures, production shots, and numerous statements from interviews with Ai Weiwei, the reader gains privileged access to the artist’s process, influences, and significance. The book also includes essays from Uli Sigg, Weiwei’s longtime friend and former Swiss ambassador to China, as well as Roger M. Buergel, who curated the 2007 documenta and hosted the artist’s Fairytale piece.