Iconic Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei has never shied away from political ideas in his art. His contributions to this year’s Venice Biennale are no exception. Bang utilizes 886 stools to create this sprawling installation. Such three legged stools were traditionally handcrafted and a common item in many Chinese households. They had numerous uses and were often passed down through generations. With the onset of the Cultural Revolution and modernization such stools soon disappeared. The enormous structure seems to have grown uncontrollably but organically – much like the explosion of growth in population urban centers, and consumer products.
Straight addresses the tragic 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and specifically the thousands of children’s lives claimed by the disaster. Ai Wei Wei straightened 150 tons of mangled steel rebar and neatly stacked in the project space. While bringing to mind the suspicion of shoddy school construction the installation also serves as a vehicle to mourn, remember, and address. Straight reflects Ai Wei Wei’s desire to straighten out the complexities and problems surrounding the massive casualties. [via]