Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a field of sunflower seeds...

Thanks to Priya of the lovely weblog The Plum Tree I am able to share this story from The Tate Modern's Turbine hall in London. She'd found an article published in London today about this extraordinary art show just opening.

this is one of Priya's wonderful seed pod drawings from her blog found here.

The story involves eminent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei pictured below...

ai weiwei sunflower seeds turbine hall
artist Ai Weiwei with his sunflower seeds

You will find a series of articles here on this artist at the UK's Guardian website which cover this artist's story over time - particularly the personal cost to him of speaking out about the Government of his country..

Read here:  

Ai Weiwei: 'I have to speak for people who are afraid'

This autumn, Ai Weiwei, China's most outspoken artist, will take over Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. He talks about how his art and politics are indistinguishable

NB click above on title to see more images.

 Turbine Hall update: A close-up photograph of some of the seeds
A close-up photograph of some of the seeds, each kiln-fired twice: once before being hand-painted, once again after. Each is unique

 Turbine Hall: Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei poses with a handful of seeds at a press view

 Turbine Hall: Aerial view of the 'Sunflower Seeds' in Turbine Hall
Sunflower seeds are an omnipresent Chinese snack, but also were a common food during the harsh years of the Cultural Revolution. Some may also think of sweatshop-powered globalisation
 Turbine Hall: 'Sunflower Seeds' at The Tate Modern
Tate Modern staff  lay out the seeds

'You can trudge over them, walk or skip or dance on these seeds, all of them Made in China. Or scoop up handfuls and let them run through your fingers, in the knowledge that someone, an old lady or a small-town teenager in Jingdezhen, has delicately picked up each one and anointed it with a small brush. Every seed is painted by hand. The town that once made porcelain for the imperial court has been saved from bankruptcy by making sunflower seeds.' 

Many thanks to Priya for sending this story to me at the Homage to the Seed blog!


pRiyA said...

My pleasure Sophie :-)

Anonymous said...

This was so wonderful to be able to post on this... thanks again for letting me know about this!

iNdi@na said...

mm i found this [the tate sunflower seeds] via designboom
who send a simply spiffing newsletter with all sorts of lovely art events on it

Anonymous said...

thanks for the tip India... good to know...

Sally said...

off to see this on saturday and looking forward to it...but i believe you can no longer walk on it...dust and asthma...which is a shame as the texture and sound would be a big part of the work.
another lovely blog Sophie..i'm looking forward to exploring it

going to sign up for designbloom...thanks India

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Sally,
how wonderful to be going to see this...sadly without being able to step onto it.
Love to hear what you think afterwards!
thanks for visiting Sally,
see you,

Dom said...

extraordinairement génial et démesuré... il y a tellement d'intention dans cette création. J'en suis époustouflée...

Sophie Munns said...

Merci Dom!

em said...

are the seeds real, or ceramic?

Anonymous said...

ceramic Em...
they look pretty real though...and to think each is hand made and painted!

Maggie Neale said...

Ceramic seeds, amazing! So many, yes, it would be extra special to walk on them, sacred even, but I can see that wouldn't work for the masses for long.

Anonymous said...

Yes...they did put up the rope to keep people from walking on them pretty quickly Maggie... as you say it was bound to happen.... intriguing work though...
thanks for popping in!

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