Two additional Ai Weiwei exhibits can currently be seen in Chelsea at the Mary Boone and Lisson galleries, both on West 24th Street.
Roots and Branches, at Mary Boone features Tree, a 25-foot-high tree Frankensteined together from sections of multiple dead trees collected from mountains in Southern China. The various tree parts were bolted together to create one massive tree complete with twisted roots and sprawling branches. The imposing piece is displayed before a wall covered in wallpaper specially designed by the artist.
According to the exhibit’s press release, Tree is a “totem that may be seen as a comment on the strength of modern China built from many ancient ethnic groups, or a determined attempt to create something new and vital from what is irrevocably lost.” The show also includes Treasure Box, a large-scale puzzle-box made from ancient reclaimed huali wood, as well as portraits of Ai composed in LEGOs, including a reproduction of his triptych Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn.
Roots and Branches continues at Lisson Gallery where cast-iron tree trunks and iron root sculptures “create a forest of displaced objects and reveal the artist’s interest in tradition and contemporaneity as well as the prevalence of displacement in post-modern societies.” This theme directly relates to Ai’s exhaustive work in Laundromat which focuses on the global refugee crisis (see my previous post) and the current displacement of millions of individuals around the world.
Learn more about Ai Weiwei 2016: Roots and Branches at maryboonegallery.com and lissongallery.com. Both exhibitions are on view through December 23, 2016.
Mary Boone Gallery’s uptown location at 745 Fifth Avenue is showing a fourth concurrent Ai Weiwei exhibit through December 23rd. Learn more about it here.