at Art 38 Basel and Documenta 12

Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing

June 5, 2007

Galerie Urs Meile,


Art 38 Basel, June 13-17 2007

Hall 2.1 – Booth P5

Ai Weiwei: “Fragments”

at Art Unlimited – Booth G6


June 16 – September 23, 2007

Ai Weiwei: “Fairytale”

Lu Hao & Xie Nanxing

Galerie Urs Meile shows “Fragments” at Basel’s Art 38 as a major project in Art Unlimited featuring Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The installation is presented for the first time outside of China. “History”, Ai Weiwei has said, “is the missing piece of the puzzle in everything we do.” A parallel claim can be made about the artist himself, whose work as a curator, editor and architect has been a driving force behind the development of experimental Chinese art for over twenty years.

The artist’s practice has largely been defined by his use of historically charged materials, which he disfigures and reconfigures to create iconoclastic sculptures and installations. Defacing a Han Dynasty urn with the Coca-Cola logo or shattering a vessel from the same period, his past works wryly comment on the loss of China’s cultural legacy by reenacting its destruction, leaving viewers aghast and implicating the artist in the process. Since 1997, Ai Weiwei has employed master woodworkers to dissect and reassemble Qing Dynasty furniture into strange, hybrid configurations. The seamless construction of these sculptures has an absurd grace that could only be achieved through the most arduous — and inventive — application of ancient Chinese joinery techniques (David Spalding).

Ai Weiwei’s “Fairytale” at Documenta 12, Kassel

How the nonhomogeneity of this year’s Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, is seen from a Chinese perspective, formed by a generally different understanding of the traditional and the process of an unsentimental modernisation, is one of the questions that artist Ai Weiwei poses. He brings 1001 Chinese citizens to Kassel and sets a condition such that every individual participant has a chance to confront each other with their ordinary lives and their attending one of the most important contemporary art events. Ai Weiwei’s experiment is about personal experience, awareness, and consciousness, as well as direct confrontation and enlightenment the participants have throughout the whole process. The work which is entitled Fairytale will record its own history in precise detail. As a work in the public domain that has left the monumental behind, Fairytale will integrate into the social texture of Kassel. And in this way it might just leave one or another lasting mark on the place.

Lu Hao and Xie Nanxing at Documenta 12, Kassel

Two internationally acclaimed Chinese artists promoted by the gallery, Lu Hao and Xie Nanxing, are part of this year’s Documenta 12. A major motor of Lu Hao’s creative output is his strong identification with his native town of Beijing. With superior tenacity, the artist probes the concrete and the conceptual rubble fields that have been shaping the face of the Chinese megacity, as well as the modernizing urge that so much dominates it. In Chang’ An Street (2005) which consists of totally 100 single images (each 50 x 50 cm) painted traditionally with Chinese ink on silk, the artist provides a distinctive view of one of Beijing’s major urban streets. The visualization of Chang’ An Street through the artist’s eyes addresses indirectly the contemporary problem of China’s devastation of cultural assets and the ideologically conditioned development of new environments as a phenomenon beyond all temporal and spatial limits.

Xie Nanxing’s works have been shown in numerous international exhibitions and biennials ever since the late 1990s. With his astonishing technical skill and conceptual rigor, Xie Nanxing creates paintings that stage profound confrontations between the viewer and the dazzling, vertiginous real. By rendering disfigured scenes in a super-realistic style, he reveals an anxiety to seal off the real, but deliberately leaves his projects incomplete, so that this anxiety becomes a contagion, infecting viewers (David Spalding).

Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

Rosenberghöhe 4, 6004 Lucerne

Tel: +41(0)41 420 33 18

Fax: +41(0)41 420 21 69

E-Mail: [email protected]