Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo and to seek new potential.
This briefly describes Ai Weiwei‘s revolutionary artistic approach and expresses the essence of Evidence, the biggest solo exhibition of the Chinese artist, recently shown at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. The retrospective featured works and installations that were either designed specifically for the building or have been shown in Germany for the very first time. The eterogenious art works were animated by the same rebellious spirit that gave voice to the pain and sorrow of the people denouncing the infamous crimes and stiffling repression of the Chinese governament. Imposing monumental proportions, videos and scluptures made in marble, metal, wood and jade exemplified Ai Weiwei‘s evergoing experimentation with different scales and media. Evidence was a concrete and tangible political proof, like the 6000 Ming and Qing dynasty wooden stools spectaculary assembled into the Court or the lists of names of the students victims of the earthquake that in 2008 devasted the Wenchuan County in Chinese Sichuan Provincea; it was silent testimony of a forgotten past, of injustices and harrassments cruelly executed by an unquestionable supreme power. Touching both the modern Chinese social upheaval, as well as the artist’s own experiences with oppression and censorship, the exhibition showcased China’s rich cultural heritage, both preserving and destroying it at the same time. Contradictions of such kind is what make Weiwei’s art so controversial and powerful. With straight-forward symbolism and sharp criticism, the exhibition roughly depicted the friction between the Western world and the current China, half way through modernization and tradition, developing further Ai‘s recurring themes that gave him the fame of one of the most outspoken contemporary artists.
Creativity is the soul of art and art is the beginning that makes actions become meaningful.