Ai Weiwei (2)

We headed up to Blenheim for the Ai Weiwei opening along with several thousands of others, all coming out for the autumn sunshine.   It was a bit of a scrum – hundreds of daytrippers, plus the Woodstock Literary Festival, plus an unprivate private view.   The Ai Weiwei installations are big and ambitious and work surprisingly well.

The display begins with a massive chandelier in the Great Hall:

image

image

Next is the jokey Coca-cola logo inscribed on a Han Dynasty vase:

image

In the corridor are some kitsch floral plates displayed alongside the cabinets of Sèvres:

image

We liked the porcelain crabs in the Red Drawing Room which commemorate the feast his friends had the night before his studio was burned down:

image

Next came the Saloon, the central room on the South Front with an array of gilded signs of the zodiac:

image

image

In the Second State Room are two marbled chairs:

image

image

In the third State Room, a bowl of pearls:

image

In the Library, a marble surveillance camera:

image

Last of the things we saw were the two stately porcelain vases in the colonnade alongside the private apartments:

image

What is one to make of the display as a whole?   First, it is done in a full-blooded way, not just as occasional interventions, but filling the house, work which in a curious way partly belongs like cases of oriental ceramics and partly jars.   I think the Ai Weiwei’s work best when there is an elision with the original, a frisson of incongruity as history is matched by works from a very different artisan culture.

Standard

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s