Ai Weiwei

Sofa in Black


85 x 92 x 92cm.

Ai Weiwei is an activist – his provocative and visionary artworks explore a multitude of challenging themes such as censorship, human rights and creative freedom, and draw from his own experiences of contemporary Chinese society.

Sofa in Black is a reproduction of the armchair in Ai’s family home, hand-carved in marble. It once belonged to his father, the Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist Movement in China in the late-1950s. “My father was a man who really loved art”, says Ai. “He studied art in the 1930s in Paris. He was a very good artist, but right after he came back he was put in jail.” Ai Weiwei still owns the real couch. und it like a sundial. As with Begum’s familiar ‘bar’ works which reflect and blend colours on to the wall behind the sculpture, where each glass panel crosses over, a new colour is combined creating a rainbow spectrum of clean shapes on the ground around it. Whilst her interest in US Minimalism, the work of Donald Judd and Hélio Oiticica, is immediately evident in the form of the sculpture, it is this combined with the softer reflections and movement of light and colour which firmly positions Begum as a pioneer of her own visual language. Unlike the structures which confine the Minimalists to their genre, Begum is absorptive and hospitable to new stimuli, evident particularly in the works made during her residency at Tate St Ives which brought tactility and romanticism to her practice