Ai Weiwei (1957, Beijing), one of China’s most distinguished contemporary artists, architect, social activist and spokesperson for human rights, presents his Zodiac Heads for the first time in the Czech Republic. This sculptural project indented for the public space consists of twelve bronze animal figures that are copies of the heads that once adorned the fountain in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanmingyuan), in the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, destroyed during the Second Opium War. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition by the same name explores this work that is a reflection of intricate references to history, politics, and the complexities of authenticity and derivation. In a brief interview, the artist calls for a debate about the repatriation of art, shared cultural heritage, and contemporary expectations regarding the democratization of art and public space.
56 pages, 19 reproductions