Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Treadmill News

No, I'm not flogging fitness gear!

I hardly ever sometimes get up before the madness that is school run, to fit in a quick jog sprint on the treadmill. I realise I should be wired to my i-pod arm implant, as seems to be the norm, but nope...I watch the news. Most of it is rather grim, but there's always an editorial piece that is usually a little lighter in content...I watch it for that I think!

Last Friday I saw a wonderful piece on Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads, currently exhibiting at the beautiful Somerset House in London.

'The monumental installation comprises 12 bronze animal heads, re-creations of the traditional Chinese zodiac sculptures which once adorned the fountain of Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing. The installation is part of an International Tour which will started in New York.'

"I am fascinated by making public art. ‘Public’ does not just refer to the museum public; it’s for people passing by and using communal spaces. I think the public deserve the best. In the past, only a pope or an emperor had access to the artworks they commissioned. I want my work to be accessible to everyone. As Yuanming Yuan was being built, Somerset House was being constructed and for me this means that the Courtyard is the perfect setting for Circle of Animals."
Ai Weiwei, 2011
Somerset House

The exhibition has attracted a lot of attention due to Weiwei currently being detained in China for his political statements.

Somerset House is the most beautiful setting - it's where the outdoor ice skating rink is set up around Christmas time - and itself has a history of imperialism so is perfect for such a grand exhibition.

I only wish I could be there to see it!

I've attached the YouTube video where Ai Weiwei talks about his inspiration for the exhibition. It's quite lovely, if you have 5 mins to spare.

Images: 1, 3 & 4 via the Somerset House website; 2 via The Telegraph (UK); 5 via Zodiac Friends; 6 via YouTube.

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