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    Sale 5417

    Post-War & Contemporary Art

    2 April 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 557

    Ai Weiwei (b. 1957)


    Price Realised  


    Ai Weiwei (b. 1957)
    signed and dated 'Ai Weiwei 1997' (on the underside)
    two wooden stools, Qing-Dynasty (1644-1911)
    25 x 25 x 16in. (63.5 x 63.5 x 40.7cm.)
    Executed in 1997

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    Anon. sale, Sotheby's New York, 20 September 2006, lot 113.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text

    I think we are in a very special moment, as Chinese people, but also internationally, we have gone from the cold war, an unjust society, towards so-called globalization, or a stronger capitalist society, or an information age. Everything happened with a purpose leaving us with unknown conditions. I don't think humans can ever really control this, and it has become even less controllable. Circumstances are now much more complicated than we can predict. For example until quite recently there was no China or India and now suddenly they are the factories of the world. But people are still trying to figure out what this means in relation to ideology, social and political structure, and all kinds of other problems, like education and the environment. I don't think there is a single reaction, at least for myself that can answer these questions, or put me at peace. So I constantly think about the condition of being lost. Once you're lost, you try to figure out where to go. Imagine you're in the middle of a train station and you try to understand the much larger, much more complicated, space around you, or the travel you are embarking on.

    So I think it's crazy, the whole thing is crazy. I am not very clear about what I am doing. If I have a character, I don't have much purpose in my life, but more of a natural flow. The only fact is that I am still alive. I'm here. This is solid now, but even this might change. I can't figure out what is going on. Really that's true. Honestly, I don't have a clear answer for this. The clearest answers look ridiculous to me.

    Ai Weiwei : Fragments, Voids, Sections and Rings. This interview by Adrian Blackwell took place on June 21, 2006 at Ai Weiwei's studio/home in Cao Chang Di Village on the outskirts of Beijing.