26. Juni 2015

Entdeckt: 81 Wooden Balls by Ai Weiwei

On October 4th 2012, Ai Weiwei's new installation 81 Wooden Balls world premiered at KODE Art Museums of Bergen, as part of the group exhibition Real Life Stories. The installation fills the entire Tower Room at Lysverket and consists of 81 large wooden balls which are placed in a 9 by 9 meter square. The total number of balls coincides with the number of days Ai Weiwei was imprisoned in 2011.

The artist has stated that the 9 by 9 meter formation draws its significance partly from the fact that 9 is the highest one digit number in China and that it symbolizes eternity. The balls are made from Huali Wood, each weighs 35 kilograms, and their polyhedron shape is based on sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.

Ai Weiwei got the idea of using this ancient shape from one of his son's plastic toys. Together with his team, he has spent two years exploring the joining methods of traditional Chinese furniture, and the balls are put together completely without the use of either glue, screws or nails.

One of the curators of the exhibition, Feng Boyi, who has been Ai Weiwei's friend for many years, says that the wooden objects are not connected together in any meaningful way. But they are sturdy, and thus serve as a symbolic reference to the rigorous tension of the Chinese social and ethical systems, and as an allegory for the internally stable state of Chinese society, which lacks the potential power of self-adjustment. The work also alludes to the conflict, contradiction and entanglement inherent in China's modern historical progression.

If Ai Weiwei tends to employ the methods of postmodernism, then this satirical, ironic work displays a more directly effective "handling" method, turning the standards that traditional crafts can provide into something transitory and unreliable, while the delight in the humorous, mischievous and absurd breaking of taboos become all the more thought-provoking.

This movie is produced by film and television students from the University of Bergen. Curators of the exhibition are Feng Boyi and Bjørn Inge Follevaag. Director of KODE, Erlend G. Høyersten, and chief curator at KODE, Eli Okkenhaug are co--curators.

Musik "Here Is Love" von Ralph Myerz And The Jack Herren Band