Iron Tree Trunk, 2015
Iron Root, 2015
Ai Weiwei (born 1957, China) is a conceptual artist, architect and activist, whose work revolves around the human condition, as well as the social and political contracts that bind and divide us. Revisiting last year’s exhibition at Lisson Gallery in New York, Ai again pairs his epic wallpaper frieze, entitled Odyssey, with a landscape of blasted tree roots – together speaking of displacement, conflict and alienation.
While undoubtedly created against the backdrop of the ongoing global refugee crisis, the iconography of the wallpaper was equally inspired by Greek and Egyptian imagery and by narratives documenting the earliest movements of people. Spanning almost 60 metres of the ground floor space, this journey cycles from past to present, interrupted only by a felled tree trunk in rusted iron and a gleaming cast of a root, sprayed in garish gold car paint. These are also representations of past time immemorial meeting an accelerated modern world.