Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei has a New Work Made out of Old Chinese Temples

© Sigg Collection, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is one of China's most famous artists, he is also one of the most controversial. Despite being under house arrest by the Chinese government, he continues to come out with new works which are laden with political messages of protest.

The latest, Perspectives: Ai Weiwei, is on display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington's Smithsonian.

© Sigg Collection, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The piece is called Fragments and it is made out of the pillars and beams of ironwood (or tieli) salvaged from several dismantled Qing dynasty temples. From afar it looks a bit chaotic, but in fact it is a very elaborate sculpture.

The shape is the borders of a map of China. Using old and recycled materials, the artist has created it out of old pieces of wood.

© Sigg Collection, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

There are no nails; it is held together by post and beam construction: a system dating back two thousand years.

In this work Ai Weiwei is commenting on destruction and creativity; something that is happening all the time in China. New things are being created out of old and that requires a delicate balance, just like the sculpture.

Tags: Artists | Recycled Building Materials | Washington DC

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