Tang Contemporary Art announces the opening of “Year of the Rat,” a solo exhibition featuring works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, running until Dec. 10. It marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in Thailand. Curated by Cui Cancan, it is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with Tang Contemporary Art, after his solo exhibitions “Ai Weiwei” in Beijing and “Wooden Ball” and “Refutation” in Hong Kong.
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Wuhan, China announced the closure of the city due to a new coronavirus. Several months later, tens of millions of people around the world had contracted Covid-19. In the expanse of human civilization, 60 years is not a long time, but the vast majority of people will only see one such Year of the Rat in their lifetimes.
The Year of the Rat gives Ai Weiwei’s exhibition particular meaning. History always finds a new catalyst in the artist. He collects events and stories that have been scattered, polishing them like gems. He made a hard hat out of marble, a replica of the hard hats worn by workers who were trying to rescue people from the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake.
Shelter, which employs a geometric interpretation of the common form of an umbrella, was created during the protests in Hong Kong in 2014. He has made several marble pieces that do not convey a clear message, including an ordinary takeout box and two rolls of toilet paper.
They come from different contexts, times, and places. The message may have been removed or magnified, but as a result, they seem both very close to and very far from us, both very obscure and very clear. They activate and accentuate one another in the new order that Ai Weiwei offers us.
“Year of the Rat” is the beginning of another cycle, and in ancient legends, it wards off evil, helps determine the auspiciousness of marriage, and summons the spirits. In the modern vocabulary, it symbolizes the spread of filth, theft, and illness. In this pandemic, many people have not lived to see the end of the year, and the things they experienced may reverberate in 180 years, turning them into heralds of things to come.
Artist: Ai Weiwei
Curator: Cui Cancan
Exhibition Open to the Public: October 29 – December 10, 2020
Location: Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok, Room 201 – 206 (2/F), River City Bangkok, 23 Soi Charoenkrung 24, Talad Noi, Sampantawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand.
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B. 1957, Beijing, China
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist. Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called “tofu-dreg schools” in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of “economic crimes.”
Cui Cancan is an independent curator in China; he has won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award Critic Award, Yi Shu Award for Critical Writing, and others, curated exhibitions including Hei Qiao Night Way (2013), Xiang Cun Xi jian Chui (2013), FUCKOFF II (2013), Unlived by What is Seen (2014), Between the 5th and 6th Ring Road in Beijing (2015), The Decameron (2016), Curated solo exhibitions like Ai Weiwei, Xia Xiaowan, Shen Shaomin, Wang Qingsong, He Yunchang, Xiao Yu, Qin Ga, Xie Nanxing, Shi Jinsong, Li Zhanyang, Xu Zhongmin, Ma Ke, Xia xing, Zhao Zhao, Li Qing, Chen Yufan, Chen Yujun, Li Binyuan, Feng Lin, Zhang Yue, Zong Ning, Jiang Bo, and others.