'Sunflower Seed' by Ai Weiwei, 2010
0.75 x .025 Inches each
1.9 x 0.7 Centimeters each
9 x 9 x 1 Inches (framed)
Hand-painted porcelain sunflower seed from the artist's historic exhibit.
Unique, limited edition, custom framed presentation - plate-signed in the matting by the artist.
Limited Edition Presentation series of 50 pieces.
Signed in the plate by the artist in black.
Each piece is individually hand-numbered in pencil on reverse.
*Note: professionally framed with image matting, printed artist signature and black hardwood molding.
ABOUT THE ART
"In the times I grew up, it was a common place symbol for The People, the sunflower faces the trajectory of the red sun, so must the masses feel towards their leadership. Handfuls were carried in pockets, to be consumed on all occasions both casual and formal. So much more than a snack, it was the minimal ingredient that constituted the most essential needs and desires. Their empty shells were the ephemeral traces of social activity. The least common denominator for human satisfaction. I wonder what would have happened without them?"
- Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds is made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. 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. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form 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.
Given his remarkable life and work, Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing) stands as a unique international figure. He is both one of the most celebrated contemporary artists and one of the world’s most prominent and respected human rights activists. The exhibition draws on many aspects of his career as a visual artist and architect, and is informed by both his own life experience and the plight of displaced people.
In 2016, Ai and his film team traveled to 23 countries and 40+ refugee camps while filming his documentary feature, Human Flow.