Today Ai Weiwei enjoys a reputation far beyond the art world. While his vast social or performance-based interventions and appropriated object-based artworks have secured his place as one of the world’s leading conceptual artists, Ai is equally known as a social media phenomenon, a political activist, and an outspoken champion of free expression in his native China, where he earnt an 81-day police detention in 2011.
This book, signed by the artist, is the first comprehensive monograph on Ai Weiwei’s life and work. Compiled in close collaboration with Ai and with direct access to his own archives, it explores the artist's particular brand of expression and activism over more than 700 pages of images and text.
Many previously unseen images, from photos taken during Ai’s time in New York to production shots of large installations in the workshop and pictures from his studio.
Essays from Uli Sigg, Ai’s long-time friend and former Swiss ambassador to China; Roger M. Buergel, who curated the 2007 Documenta and hosted the artist’s Fairytale piece; and experts on Chinese culture and politics, Carlos Rojas, William A. Callahan, and James J. Lally.
Numerous statements derived from exclusive interviews with Ai Weiwei, conducted especially for this publication.
Full-page chapter openers designed by the artist in traditional paper-cut style.
The volume is wrapped in a silk scarf (110 cm x 100 cm, Habotai silk), based on a detail from Ai’s work Straight, a reference to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.
Limited and numbered edition of 1,000 copies (No. 101-1,100). Each edition is signed by the artist.
Also available as limited Art Edition (No. 1-100).
Hans Werner Holzwarth is a book designer and editor based in Berlin, with numerous publications mainly on contemporary art and photography. For TASCHEN he has edited, among other titles, Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool, Albert Oehlen, Neo Rauch and Ai Weiwei.