That pot he is smashing is a priceless Ming Dynasty vase. Its sad, but i’ve obsessed over this picture for a few days, it won’t get out of my head. I love it because it questions the entire human system of value. In fact, it goes as far as to diminish it. Looking at this photo demands so many interesting questions about what humans deem valuable. Why did that vase matter more than another? It is, after all, just clay. Is it important because it once told us about historic culture? because surely we have learned all we can from it now. Does it matter because of the people that used it once? those people have long since died, and their vase is hardly the thing they would wish to be remembered by. Ai Weiwei is asking these questions and answering them. It is clay, and the world is no different now its broken.
Also, it emphasizes how fragile humanity is. Something that is deemed a treasure, that has existed for hundreds of years, took only a second to smash on the ground, and become one with the rubble. The symbolic relevance this has in regards to life in general could be analyzed endlessly, but you get the point.
Donations of LEGO bricks are left in a car as part of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s appeal for LEGO bricks at The Royal Academy of Arts in London on November 9th 2015. Collection points have been set up around the world by the artist after the Danish toy company LEGO refused to sell Ai Weiwei a bulk order of bricks for his upcoming art installation at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Credit:Getty Images/ Ben Pruchnie
“Nature can be a man-made or an industrial postmodern society. I believe that you’re always part of it and consciously or unconsciously you’re in there, trying to build up some kind of relationship, which means the consciousness and awareness will be useful to others.”
-Ai Weiwei : Ai Weiwei Speaks with Hans Ulrich Obrist