artists and designers > Ai Weiwei > AI WEIWEI / silk scarf

author: Ai Weiwei, Beijing / title: Sunflower Seed / object: silk scarf / material: 100% silk, hand rolled edges / 110 x 110 cm /

text: Sunflower Seeds was an installation made up of ten million unique porcelain sunflower seeds / however realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain / each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen / far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands / The seeds were displayed at Tate Modern Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds formed a seemingly infinite landscape / porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports / Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today //


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