Our most recent single artist shows have seen some of the true greats of contemporary art animate our Main Galleries with unforgettable, powerful work. Hockney, Kapoor, Kiefer – you need to be a special artist to embrace the immensity of our historic spaces. Who better then to take up the challenge this autumn than Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most influential artists.
Ai has been a significant force in the international art world for more than 10 years and we are proud to have him among the ranks of our Honorary Royal Academicians. This will be the first major institutional survey of his work ever held in Great Britain and it will bridge over two decades of his extraordinary career.
Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing, the RA will present some of his most important works; from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Among new works created specifically for our galleries and courtyard, will be a number of large-scale installations.
He is well known for his skilled craftsmanship and ability to master different materials and this show will be a testament to that, showcasing everything from marble and steel to tea and glass. And, with typical boldness, the chosen works will explore a multitude of challenging themes, drawing on his own experience to comment on creative freedom, censorship and human rights, as well as examining contemporary Chinese art and society.