Ai Weiwei - China Avant-Garde: The Farber Collection London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Exhibited

    Lewisburg, Samek Art Gallery, January 26 – April 4, 2004; Ann Arbor, Jean Paul Slusser Gallery, August 6 – October 6, 2004; Providence, David Winton Bell Gallery, November 6 – December 23, 2004; Los Angeles, Ben Maltz Gallery, February 12 – April 23, 2005; Tempe, Arizona State University Art Museum, September 24 – December 24, 2005; Williamstown, Williams College Museum of Art, February 4 – May 6, 2006; Knoxville, Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture, August 18 – October 11, 2006; Charlottesville, University of Virginia Art Museum, November 11 – December 23, 2006; Regeneration: Contemporary Chinese Art from China and the US.

  • Literature

    C. Merewether, ed., Ai Weiwei – Works: Beijing 1993 – 2003, Beijing, 2003, pp. 100-101 (illustrated); D. Mills and X. Xie, eds., Regeneration: Contemporary Chinese Art from China and the US, Lewisburg, 2004, pp. 26-27 (illustrated); J. Cantu, “Catching China in Transition,” Ann Arbor News, September 5, 2004 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Slanted Table is part of Ai’s iconic Furniture series that reconceives Ming and Qing dynasty furniture in perplexing, delightfully Escheresque permutations. The original furniture is dissected by master craftsmen and the new work constructed using traditional techniques of joinery without any external implements.

    While every work in the Furniture series presents a unique twist on three-dimensional space (and, sometimes, gravity), Slanted Table is the only defiantly anti-utilitarian work. In this sense it is consanguineous with Ai’s other works such as In Between, a concrete cube suspended between the nineteenth and twentieth floors of a Beijing’s luxury condominiums, and the collapsed version of Template, Ai’s eight meter-high work at documenta XII in June 2007. Template, an eight-winged structure of Ming and Qing dynasty windows and doors, famously collapsed in a storm days after the exhibition’s opening; Ai, a true iconoclast, declared the new form “more beautiful than ever.” In the same vein, Slanted Table emerges from that branch of Ai’s oeuvre that is pure form sans function—works that destroy an object’s original utility, stripping away its accumulated layers of associated power and propagandistic context to release, phoenix-like, the “divine proportions” of its form.

    Ai Weiwei was born in Xinjiang in 1957 to the acclaimed poet Ai Qing. He lived in New York from 1981 to 1993. Upon returning to Beijing he catalyzed an explosive contemporary art scene with his architectural, editorial, and curatorial activities and quickly became a leading luminary of contemporary Chinese art. His art combines an instinctive appreciation for the intrinsic purity of forms with a penetrating critique of power structures.


Slanted Table

Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) carved wooden table.
33 1/2 x 53 1/4 x 53 1/4 in. (85.1 x 135.3 x 135.3 cm).

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £66,000

China Avant-Garde: The Farber Collection

The Farber Collection
13 October 2007, 7pm