Saturday, 30 August 2014
Yorkshire Sculpture Park Another major exhibition currently at YSP features works by the dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, shown in and around the 18th century chapel where the Wentworth family once worshipped. 'Iron Tree, 2013' (above), the most complex of a series he began in 2009, is inspired by the wood sold by street vendors in Jingdezhen, southern China. Constructed from pieces cast from different trees all joined together, it is awkward and lifeless but eloquent because of that. It speaks of the individual in society, a theme amplified by the display inside the chapel (which you aren't allowed to photograph) which consists of forty-five antique wooden chairs from the Qing dynasty, arranged in rows but each within its own solitary space. I found that oddly touching, the longer I gazed and thought. The artist is currently not allowed to travel out of China due to passport restrictions and surveillance.