The highly anticipated show of China’s most influential artist and cultural phenomenon Ai Weiwei will be opening this month at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, looking back at 20 years of the artist’s impressive work.
Ai became widely known in Britain after his sunflower seeds installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010 but this will be the first major institutional survey of his work ever held in the UK and it will bridge over two decades of his extraordinary career.
Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing, the RA will present some of his most important works from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Alongside new works created specifically for the RA galleries and courtyard, the show will feature a number of large-scale installations, works showcasing everything from marble and wood to tea and glass, as well as the heaviest sculpture to ever be housed in Burlington House – an installation consisting of 90 tonnes of steel reinforcing rods straightened by hand after being mangled in 2008 quake.
An outspoken critic of the Chinese government, Ai Weiwei, free to travel again after Beijing authorities returned his passport, arrived to London last week where he is overseeing the finishing touches to the upcoming show.