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Marble Sofa & Pendant

Marble Sofa & Pendant
Ai Weiwei

Zone 4: High Street Ken

the Design Museum, Kensington High Street, London, UK

@designmuseum @aiww


24/7 until end of July



We are delighted to showcase Ai Weiwei as part of KCAW Public Art Trail. “Marble Sofa” [pair], 2011 and "Pendant (Toilet Paper)”, 2021 are displayed outside the Design Museum as part of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense.

“Marble Sofa” [pair], 2011 (free to visit, displayed next to the museum's High Street Shop) is a replica of two chairs owned by Ai's father. In replacing leather with marble, he has turned a commonplace object into a sculpture that is less functional but more precious, which was a common practice among the rulers of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 CE).

In the museum’s courtyard visit "Pendant (Toilet Paper)”, 2021, another of Ai’s sculptures (free to visit, displayed next to the museum's entrance). Toilet paper, a seemingly worthless item, was suddenly much sought after when it became scarce during the Covid-19 pandemic. The artist was struck by this because the item was a luxury when he was growing up in China. By carving this roll in marble on a grand scale, he memorialises a moment when we were forced to recognise the value of ordinary things.

Ai Weiwei is one of the most significant and recognised artists working today. Known around the world for his powerful art and activism, Ai does not differentiate between disciplines: his practice glides across art, architecture, design, film, collecting and curating.

His latest major exhibition at The Design Museum, developed in collaboration with the artist, is the first to present his work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values. Through his engagement with material culture, Ai explores the tension between past and present, hand and machine, precious and worthless, construction and destruction.

Ai is fascinated by historical Chinese artefacts, placing their traditional craftsmanship in dialogue with the more recent history of demolition and urban development in China - resulting in a meditation on value – on histories and skills that have been ignored or erased.

Flash-crowd Meditation - ‘Black Womxn at Rest’

During Art Week Black Blossoms and artists BOKANI and Birungi Kawooya in collaboration with KCAW and the Mayor of London’s ‘Untold Stories’ Fund will host a flashmob on 28 June 2023 at 4:30 pm to 5pm inside the atrium. No need to book, just turn up for a moment of rest and meditation.

The meditation is part of the activities surrounding a subject matter of rest and wellness, based on a mural created by the artists titled ‘Black Womxn at Rest’, which challenges societal expectations and encourages a much-needed dialogue on the importance of rest and self-care.

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense
Until 30 July 2023

Museum Opening Times
10.00 – 18.00 Sunday to Friday
10.00 – 21.00 Saturdays

Ai Weiwei sculptures on show 24/7
Until 30 July 2023

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