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  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has been famously critical of his native China's authoritarian regime throughout the duration of his career. As an activist and artist, he regularly charges his work with contemporary political meaning as well as nods to the tenets and touchstones of art history. In Surveillance Camera, 2010, Weiwei uses marble, a traditionally commemorative material deeply imbued with cultural and historical import to depict a CCTV camera, a ubiquitous if unfortunate feature of the contemporary surveillance state, memorializing the mode of control as an antimonument. Sourcing the work’s material from the same quarry as that of the mausoleum of Chinese Communist Leader Mao Zedong, Weiwei applies the object’s symbolic power in both Western Chinese culture to Duchampian ends, as if the common CCTV camera is as much a part of the contemporary landscape as acanthus and laurel were to that of the classical past. Weiwei’s juxtaposition of the past with the present dramatizes the longevity of surveillance in China and the erosion of personal rights in both the artist's homeland and the world at large.

46

Surveillance Camera

marble
15 1/2 x 16 x 8 in. (39.4 x 40.6 x 20.3 cm)
Executed in 2010.

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

Contact Specialist

Sam Mansour
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1219

New Now

New York Auction 30 September 2020