Seen and liked – Large-scale installations by Ai WeiWei in Vancouver and Phyllida Barlow in London

WeiWei

AI WeiWei, Art Gallery Vancouver, Canada, 2015

Simply fascinating! ‘Ai WeiWei’s large-scale installation BANG comprises of 886 antique stools and replicas from the Qing dynasty (1644-192) that has been installed by traditional Chinese craftsmen. Three-legged stools were often handed down through generations and could be found in nearly every Chinese home until the 1960s, when industrial manufacturing replaced carved wood with plastic. They are arranged in an expansive rhizomatic structure that suggests ‘directions in motion with no beginning or end’. Like traditional furniture, BANG is always detachable, connectable, reversible and modifiable, with multiple entrances and exits. Any one stool in BANG can be interpreted as symbolic of an individual in relationship to the rapidly developing and complex structures of contemporary society.’ (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2015)

Phyllida Barrow, Tate Britain

Phyllida Barlow, Tate Britain, London 2014

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Phyllida Barlow at the Tate Britain 

What a treat at the Tate Gallery in London – the circuit walk through British Art provides a chronological overview from the 16th century to the present day, showing famous and less famous works together. In Fall 2014, I went to see Phyllida Barlow’s large scale sculptural installations at the Tate, where the sculptor unveiled her largest and most ambitious work in London for the Tate Britain Commission 2014. The Commission invites artists to respond to Tate’s collection and to the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries. Phyllida Barlow’s large-scale sculptural installations used inexpensive, everyday materials such as cardboard, fabric, timber and polystyrene.

More about the artists:

Ai WeiWei is one of the most prolific international artists practicing today. Performance, photography and installation  are equally associated in his visual repertoire, in addition to projects in writing, design and architecture. After returning to China from the United States in the early 1990s, Ai’s work focused on cultural traditions that had been discarded during the Cultural Revolution.  He began collecting Chinese antiques and furniture and integrating them into his artistic practice as a means of addressing historical and cultural values in the context of art. (Info: Art Gallery Vancouver, 2015)

Phyllida Barlow has been described as one of the great art teachers of her generation. Barlow, who turned 70 last year, has spent her adult life making sculpture, enjoying her greatest success by far over the last 10 years. She’s taught everyone from Martin Creed to Rachel Whiteread, but it’s only now, that Barlow is getting her dues as an artist. She creates on a massive scale, using cardboard, rags, rubber, tape, tarpaulin, paper, polystyrene.

Interview in the Guardian