The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei – Tate Modern, 21 January 2011

Ai Weiwei‘s installation at Tate Modern plays, we’re told, on the mass production concept associated with the ‘Made in China’ phrase. But in fact, each porcelain sunflower seed was hand-crafted. We’re also told that the installation also plays on the notion of populous China.

For me… it looks more like a landscape such as a beach of shingle or the sea on a moody day with the light casting shadows on the waves.

Arial view of Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds

Due to some health & safety nonsense, visitors are no longer allowed to walk on the sunflower seeds… And I guess that takes some of the experience away. At the same time, I’m left pondering whether my weight would break the seeds. Would they crunch underneath my foot? And more concerning, does any of this matter? Is art something to view and admire or something we have to physically interact with? What I know is that the fact I can no longer walk on the seeds annoys me.

Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds (detail)

The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei is on at Tate Modern until 2 May 2011. Admission free.

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I'm an inquisitive being. Everything is an adventure: art, architecture, colours, food, patterns, people... and travel! And I love elephants. That's what I mostly write about.
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