REBAR AND CASE
Ai Wei Wei
September 3 - October 31, 2015
ABOUT THE SHOW
Foundry Vineyards is proud to announce that their next gallery exhibition will feature contemporary Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The opening of the exhibition is September 3rd and runs through October 31, 2015. Foundry Vineyards is honored to introduce Ai Weiwei to Eastern Washington, Ai’s creative works include film, photography, sculpture, installations, and architectural projects such as the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is internationally praised for the intellectually challenging nature of his artwork and for his candor when speaking against the Chinese government. Ai’s political dissent has caused him to be repressed in various ways, notoriously being detained for 81-days, being held under house arrest, and his passport was taken away for four years. It was not until July 22, 2015 that Ai’s passport was returned. The oppression experienced by Ai Weiwei has not halted his activism nor his art production. Foundry Vineyards will be exhibiting the series Rebar and Case, eight sculptural works whose origin stems from the massive earthquake that shook the Sichuan province in China on May 12, 2008. More than 5,000 school children died during the disaster. When the Chinese government failed to release the number and names of students that perished, the lack of transparency was suspicious. Ai Weiwei coordinated the Citizens’ Investigation, which was comprised of volunteers whose purpose was to seek an explanation for the prodigious number of child casualties. The tofu-dreg construction, a term used in China to describe
shoddy construction by the government, was to blame for the collapse of the schools (though the government’s investigation was inconclusive). This exhibition is part of a larger body of work by Ai Weiwei that discusses the Sichuan tragedy and the ability for a collective of individuals to find truth in spite of the government.
In addition to the sculptures, Foundry Vineyards will be exhibiting the name list of victims that was uncovered by the Citizens’ Investigation and a film documenting the Citizens’ Investigation titled “Little Girls Cheeks” will be playing continuously throughout the exhibition.
ABOUT THE ARTIST(S)
Ai Weiwei Walla Walla is curated by Siri Smith who is a project coordinator for Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing and is a Whitman College alumnus, if it were not for her connection to Walla Walla this exhibition would not have been possible. Along with Smith, the exhibition was coordinated and sponsored by the Anderson Foundation for the Arts, whose mission is to bring art enrichment to its community. The Foundation has organized a concurrent installation at Whitman College of Ai Weiwei’s sculpture Refraction, which was originally produced for the monumental exhibition @Large on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. In a town whose largest employer is a the state penitentiary it seems pertinent to place the work on the grounds of a top liberal arts college - widely known for its engagement in politics and freedom of expression. The sculpture was created to simulate a bird’s wing and is comprised of Tibetan solar-reflective panels; the work is a commentary on freedom, or rather, what it means to be free.