Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, developed by the NGV and The Warhol, with the participation of Ai Weiwei, will explore the significant influence of these two exemplary artists on modern and contemporary life, focussing on the parallels, intersections and points of difference between the two artists’ practices. Surveying the scope of both artists’ careers, the exhibition at the NGV will present over 300 works, including major new commissions, immersive installations and a wide representation of paintings, sculpture, film, photography, publishing and social media.
Presenting the work of both artists’ in dialogue and correspondence, the exhibition will explore modern and contemporary art, life and cultural politics through the activities of two exemplary figures – one of whom represents twentieth century modernity and the
‘American century’; and the other contemporary life in the twenty-first century and what has been heralded as the ‘Chinese century’ to come.
Ai Weiwei commented, “I believe this is a very interesting and important exhibition and an honour for me to have the opportunity to be exhibited alongside Andy Warhol. This is a great privilege for me as an artist.”
Ai Weiwei lived in the United States from 1981 until 1993, where he experienced the works of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, among others. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again) was the first book that Ai Weiwei purchased in New York, and was a significant influence upon his conceptual approach. Ai Weiwei’s relationship to Warhol is explicitly apparent in a photographic self-portrait (taken in New York in 1987) in which Ai Weiwei poses in front of Warhol’s multiple self-portrait, adopting the same gesture.
Each artist is also recognised for his unique approach to notions of artistic value and studio production. Warhol’s Factory was legendary for its bringing together of artists and poets, film-makers and musicians, bohemians and intellectuals, drag queens, superstars and socialites, and for the serial-production of silkscreen paintings, films, television, music and publishing.
The studio of Ai Weiwei is renowned for its interdisciplinary approach, post-industrial modes of production, engagement with teams of assistants and collaborators, and strategic use of communications technology and social media. Both artists have been equally critical in redefining the role of ‘the artist’ – as impresario, cultural producer, activist, and brand – and both are known for their keen observation and documentation of contemporary society and everyday life.
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei continues the NGV’s recently established Contemporary Summer Series, and will occupy all of the major exhibition galleries on the ground floor at NGV International over the summer of 2015–16.
For more information visit www.ngv.vic.gov.au