Ai Ai Weiwei
Ai Ai Weiwei; Tearing Ai Weiwei photos- Dropping a Han dynasty vase
2016, 3 photo's x 80 x 80 cm.
I saw pictures of the great artist Ai Weiwei in the museum. He is dropping a Han Dynasty vase. I had already seen the black and white photos on the Internet, three large square photos. In the first picture, he is holding the two thousand year old vase tightly, in the second, the vase is hovering between his hands and the stone floor, and in the third it has smashed into smithereens. Weiwei holds up his hands in triumph. It is his statement against China. Weiwei has already been at odds with the government of his native country. He wants to settle with Chinese culture, the Chinese cultural heritage. This made me think of the members of Isis, who have destroyed countless historical artifacts and architecture in Iraq and Syria. The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is basically doing the same thing, disrespectfully and arrogantly. I despise the cowardice of destruction. Everything of value is vulnerable in the hands of barbarians. Weiwei tries yet another provocation against a political regime with a simple spineless statement. Political statements in art have zero impact, which has frequently been shown. But the vase is broken. I thought that I would also make a statement. There are similarities. There is a value today, both for the Ai Weiwe’s photos (which I tear up), for the vase that he dropped, and for Syrian cultural and historical monuments. Is it about destroying an artifact to provoke or is it actual worthlessness? In this last way, Ai Weiwei should reflect on his actions. With thanks to photographer Harry Pelgrim
photo 2 Dropping a Han Dynasty vase Ai Weiwei, Bonnefanten Maastricht.