Three weeks ago, I had the chance to go to Paris for work and took that opportunity to check out “Er Xi, Air de Jeux” exhibition by Ai Wei Wei at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. This one was supposed to finish on the 20th of February, but has been prolongated until the 15th of March so hurry if you want to see it!I wanted to share with you my impressions as well as some pictures for those of you who might not get the chance to see it. Ai Wei Wei has been contacted by Le Bon Marché for a collaboration. On the ground floor of the store, a video explaining the genesis of this exhibit is playing, but I couldn’t find it on Youtube; so I have dug out a video interview of Ai Wei Wei on that topic here. His idea for this installation was to engage with the people going to Le Bon Marché for shopping. He has therefore decided to bring to life the creatures of the Shanhai Jing, a literature reference for Chinese mythology, using traditional technics and has made these sculptures with bamboo frameworks covered in silk paper. He is explaining what he wants to illustrate through this exhibition in his interview : “the meanings and the character features the mythological creatures of the Shanghai jing are portraying […] find their connection within the Bon Marché Rive Gauche, picturing the feelings and motivations which are driving us in our day-to-day life”.
I personally found the exhibit visually interested with these massive ethereal sculptures floating across the main hall, however I didn’t find this installation as impactful as others I have seen in the past during previous events such as Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern of London or his retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts in London a few months ago which I had told you about here.
One of the reasons why it didn’t strike me as much is that the explanations on the panels were only describing the physical characteristics of the creatures but were not mentioning any of their character traits etc. which would have given it more depth and would have allowed us to better understand the connection that Ai Wei Wei is mentioning with our contemporary day-to-day lives. I leave you to admire the photos I took even though I must admit that it was tricky to get pictures that have as much impact as the real installation. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to discover more about my little world!
Have a nice day!