Ai Wei Wei in Lisbon: Exploring Reality vs. Fantasy

Ai Wei Wei in Lisbon: Exploring Reality vs. Fantasy

Ai Wei Wei Lisboa

The contemporary artist and activist, Ai Weiwei’s move to Portugal has influenced a new collection of his iconic artworks in the exhibition Rapture. As his first exhibition in the country, our Synopsis interns were excited to enter into the Cordoaria Nacional in Belem (Lisbon) and inside the artists unique perception of the evolving world around him. Whilst exploring a myriad of themes, at its core, Rapture is a study of the relationship between realities and fantasies, the earthly dimension and the spiritual one. The curation of works split between these two themes, so diversified in medium and having been created at varying intervals in the previous decades, equals an experience which generates a breadth of empathy and excitement.

Getting to know Ai Wei Wei

Ai Weiwei is the most famous Chinese artist living today. As an activist, he brings attention to human rights violations on an epic scale to raise awareness as an artist, he expands the definition of art to include new forms of social engagement. As a free thinker he was viewed as threat by the Chinese economy and as result under surveillance and and house arrest where he was treated inhumanely.

The contemporary artist and activist, Ai Weiwei’s move to Portugal has influenced a new collection of his iconic artworks in the exhibition Rapture. As his first exhibition in the country, our Synopsis interns were excited to enter into the Cordoaria Nacional in Belem (Lisbon) and inside the artists unique perception of the evolving world around him. Whilst exploring a myriad of themes, at its core, Rapture is a study of the relationship between realities and fantasies, the earthly dimension and the spiritual one. The curation of works split between these two themes, so diversified in medium and having been created at varying intervals in the previous decades, equals an experience which generates a breadth of empathy and excitement.

REALITY VS FANTASY

The exhibition itself is divided into two themes: fantasy and reality. The side of fantasy, where the search for the imaginary is explored, while the other side focuses on the emergency of issues in our climate, like the worsening of the human conditions for political, social, and environmental reasons.

REALITY

The reality part of this exhibition brings light to a dark and traumatic part of his life where he spent 81 days in a detention centre and this was shown through creating sculptures of being held captive.

Sculptures based on reality

Weiwei’s work has often been concerned with contemporary crises. In Rapture, there is a prominent focus on the crises of refugees as one of the most urgent conditions of the twenty-first century. The theme is present across numerous works and incorporates the artwork of refugees he has met during visits to camps internationally. This vase features a tapestry (which is reproduced in alternative mediums throughout the exhibition) with drawings by people residing in refugee camps.

The Refugees on a boat

FANTASY

The fantasy aspect of this exhibition relates back to how Ai Wei Wei perceives the world in as a spiritualist. Focusing on the mystical and spiritual dimension blurring the lines of what fantasy is and what in-fact could be reality one day.

Ai Wei Wei´s works based around fantasy

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