COLORED VASES presents a snapshot of Ai Weiwei’s art and activity during the two decades he spent in Beijing after returning from New York in 1993. Following the upheaval of the student demonstrations in 1989, Beijing had become a rapidly developing megapolis. Ai’s brother, Ai Dan, introduced him to the city’s antique markets, where he became a connoisseur of jade, porcelain, and furniture. Combined with the conceptual vocabulary he picked up as a student in the West, Ai developed his own aesthetic language. He declared, “Tradition is only a ready- made” expanding the Duchampian idea to a culture and, later, a political system.
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Tradition is only a readymade.
- Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist (b. 1957)
To imagine a language means to imagine a form of life.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-British philosopher (1929 – 1947)
Beijing Photographs, 1993-2003
Han Dynasty Urn with Coca Cola Logo, 1993
Seven Frames, 1994
Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995
Breaking of Two Blue and White Dragon Bowls, 1995
Coca-Cola Vase, 1995
Table with Two Legs on the Wall, 1997
Still Life, 1993-2000
Colored Vases, 2003
Chang’an Boulevard, 2004
Beijing: the Second Ring, 2005
Beijing: the Third Ring, 2005