Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei will present his work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values in a new exhibition at London’s Design Museum next year.
Entitled Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, the exhibition will draw on the artist’s “fascination with Chinese historical artifacts, bringing his traditional craftsmanship into dialogue with the more recent history of demolition and urban development in China.” .
Some of his most important works will be exhibited alongside collections of never-before-seen objects.
The exhibition, which will run from April 7 to July 30, will also include new commissions.
The artist, best known for his work on the design of Beijing’s Olympic stadium and for filling Tate Modern’s turbine hall with handmade porcelain sunflower seeds in 2010, is an outspoken critic of the record of human rights in China.
Other exhibitions announced as part of the Design Museum’s 2023 program include The Offbeat Sari, which will “unravel” the garment’s many forms, proving it to be “a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today”.
Curated by Priya Khanchandani, the museum’s head of curatorial and interpretation, the exhibition will bring together, on loan, dozens of “the finest saris of our time from Indian designers, wearers and artisans”.
Also announced is Skateboard, an exhibition that will map the evolution of skateboard design from the 1950s to the present day.
Director and Chief Executive of the Design Museum, Tim Marlow, said: “With saris, skateboards and a fascinating show by Ai Weiwei, 2023 will be one of the most innovative years in recent memory at the Design Museum.
“As the world’s leading contemporary design museum, we are uniquely positioned to explore these compelling global stories that highlight the sometimes playful but invariably decisive role of design in so many aspects of our lives.
“We are delighted that Ai Weiwei is presenting his first major design-focused exhibition here at the Design Museum.
“He is clearly one of the world’s most important artists, but his practice also deeply embraces design and architecture, and the cultural and political impact of his work will resonate in very different ways throughout this landmark collaborative exhibition “.