Ai Weiwei is a Beijing based artist who works with multiple mediums.
Monstrous yet delicate paper sculptures of imaginary beasts have taken up residence at Paris’ ’ Le Bon Marchérive gauche department store, in the latest installation project by the artist. The long enduring bamboo figures suspended throughout the shopping mall, symbolize the mythological creatures of epic Chinese tales for children that pre-date 2000 years back.
Using the same technique applied to making kites by constructing them with lightweight silk and thin bamboo skeletons, Weiwei’s storytelling of art movement, classic and contemporary occurrences, and a narration of Chinese myths and fairytales take flight in the long corridors. The simple and functional design of the artist’s chosen avenue of expression make his figures simple, functional and more engaging for his spectators.
Ai Weiwei explains his expansive installation, “ showing at Le Bon Marché is using a new medium, the department store, to encounter a new audience as broad as a museum’s. Introducing the fantastic idea within a retail space strikes the imagination of customers, visitors and passersby. We all lead parallel lives in this other world of dreams, fantasies and fears. We must learn to coexist with them, as they are an integral part of our humanity; to embrace our mythology. Children know how to do this naturally. This exhibition speaks to our inner child.’