25 November 2016 – 7 January 2017
In his third exhibition with Lisson Gallery London, following his acclaimed exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2015, Ai Weiwei returns to the United Kingdom with two installations that promote discussion and dialogue. The works illustrate Ai’s standing as one of them most important contemporary artists working today but also his use of social media and new technology to advocate for social and political justice.
Ai Weiwei’s immersive work Fondation (2015) made its debut as part of ‘Brève histoire de l’avenir (A Brief History of the Future)’ at the Louvre in Paris last year and was recently on view as part of the group exhibition ‘The Silent Echo’, the first contemporary art exhibition to be held at the sprawling archaeological site of Baalbek in Lebanon. On display for the first time in the United Kingdom at Lisson Gallery, Fondation makes use of stone foundations from centuries-old Chinese halls, from which column bases have been extracted and assembled in a monumental grid-like formation that sprawls over eight metres of gallery space.
Intended as a contemporary equivalent to the Greek agora, a public place of assembly and discussion, visitors are invited to sit upon the bases of the pillars and reflect on the future. The historical aesthetic of the work is also a metaphor for Ai Weiwei’s use of social media as a platform to engage international audiences on salient issues irrespective of time and place.