October 24, 2015
“Straight” In May 2008, 90,000 people were killed when an earthquake hit the Sichuan province of south-western China. When the authorities refused to make public the identities of the dead, Ai created an online memorial. His blog was shut down by the government but his art was harder to make disappear. Assembled from the steel rebar which was all that remained of millions of edifices, “Straight” is both a homage to those who died and a mute accusation of corrupt officials who compromised building standards to line their pockets.
Coloured Vases (2006)
‘Tree’ (2009) in the courtyard of the Royal Academy
That was one of the most emotional exhibition’s I’ve ever been to, so surreal it requires no intervention.
Brilliant work that simultaneously documents an act of state brutality in a spirit of defiant freedom, a work that unleashes the political power of art. Ai Weiwei runs at the Royal Academy until 13 December.