Contemporary art is often abstract and difficult to interpret, especially for audiences who are not enthusiasts or used to the works. Then there is Ai Weiwei.
The most famous living Chinese artist has decided to use art as a sounding chamber in which to denounce firstly the distortions of the regime, and secondly the injustices of the world. To enable reflection on humanitarian themes, bring them to attention, and change consciences.
And so modern art can also become comprehensible and useful, because its immediacy enables it to convey universal messages which can be shared with all. This is the function of the 22 orange life boats which frame the windows of the Palazzo Strozzi, location of the unmissable Florentine exhibition dedicated to the artist (from the 23rd of September to the 22nd of the following January): to remind us that the plight of the migrants in the Mediterranean is close by and within us. But aside from the San Lorenzo Central Market and one side of the Uffizi Gallery, all the spaces of the palace will be available to him for monumental iconic installations, sculptures, symbolic objects from his career, videos and hard-hitting photo series.
“Never separate my art from my other activities. My works have political impact and I do not stop being an artist as soon as I concern myself with human rights. Everything is art, everything is political” (Ai Wei Wei).
Brought together by the desire to communicate in a direct and extremely visual way, as much as having been the result of years of imprisonment and limited freedom in his home country. This both loved and hated China is, however, currently home to the greatest living artist.
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, 23 September 2016 – 22 January 2017