Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ai Weiwei at Mori Art Museum

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was showing at the Mori Art Museum with the title of "According to What?" when I visited. The Mori always has fabulous exhibitions of modern art; I've never been disappointed so it's another place that I always drop by during my visits to Tokyo.

Ai Weiwei's installations were thought provoking with a good dose of whimsy thrown in. Everyday objects viewed through the artist's eye were different yet familiar at the same time.

He plays with structure and geometry in natural materials. The large wood 'honeycomb' balls were quite inviting despite their sharp shape.

"Cubic Meter Table". Lined up cubes formed an open tunnel. I would have loved to have a photoshoot within this structure, there were so many possibilities. It is, according to the description provided, "most representative of Ai Weiwei's work; basic forms and volumes of art and design, matched with the use of tables in everyday life".
I caught hubae and our wine group's maknae (who is currently studying in Tokyo) in various poses playing around the gallery. "The Mid-Slide".

House of dried and stacked tea leaves. The fragrance of the leaves permeated the whole gallery, it was like being in an old teahouse.

Closeup of a tealeaf cube.
The art pieces threw interesting shadows.

There seemed to be open spaces (whether they're small holes, openings, or large vacancies) in most of his artwork.

An uneasy seat. Would it actually hold a person's weight, I wondered.

I was deeply impressed by this quote from the artist:
"I make the useful become not useful; they combine the practical with change and illusion. They open up a perspective so that we can have an understanding of the material or an understanding of space. It is a basis of dealing with perception and when you think about how people use an object, you're also using so-called knowledge in the sense that 'useful' has a meaning. The meaning is the use. And that plays a great role in human understanding and culture."
I've been trying to include "the meaning is the use" in a lot of my conversations thereafter, probably annoying a lot of people. Heh.

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