Zodiac (from Papercut Portfolio), 2019



23.60 x 23.60 in

59.9 x 59.9 cm

Edition of 250

This work comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and is hand-signed by the artist in pencil

PRICE: $4,000

    About The Work

    Here, Ai Weiwei employs the ancient Chinese art of papercutting to reflect on his life and work. 

    Meticulously cut in large format, colored fine art paper, 'Zodiac' offers a new interpretation of an iconic treasure looted from Beijing’s Old Summer Palace by Western powers during the Second Opium War in 1860. Designed by the Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione for the court of the Emperor Qianlong (1711–1799), the zodiac water-clock fountain is fabled for its precious bronze-plated sculptures of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. It was dissembled when British and French troops sacked the palace, leaving behind ruins that are preserved in a public park to this day. Of the animal heads, seven still exist, mostly in Western collections, and have been rendered by Ai in their exact form. Five were lost (dragon, snake, ram, rooster, and dog), so he designed these animals himself, raising new questions about authenticity and cultural appropriation. “Are they truly lost, or at the auction house?” Ai asks of the originals. “The missing zodiac heads may just show up next season, so we will see how they compare with our version.”  

    About Ai Weiwei

    From The Magazine

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