Let’s hope the NGV’s server is ready to handle the traffic on Wednesday morning.
This morning the gallery confirmed that Ai Weiwei will travel to Melbourne to open the Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei exhibition. He will also appear in conversation with ABC journalist Virginia Trioli, for which tickets will go on sale tomorrow morning.
Ai’s passport was only recently returned to him by the Chinese authorities, which withheld it for four years. This is an extremely rare chance to see the controversial artist in person.
Ai has plenty to talk about. China’s most famous artist is in the habit of making international headlines. The past month is no exception. While preparing a work for this exhibition, Ai was refused a bulk order from LEGO due to the artist’s “political” reputation. As a result, Ai was flooded with offers of LEGO donations from around the world. The NGV stepped up as the first international LEGO collection point, parking a second-hand car in the sculpture gardens where donors can pour the toy blocks through the sunroof.
Ai is a prolific master of the grand artistic gesture, addressing human rights and freedom of expression through installations, sculpture, photography, films, Twitter and Instagram. He’s an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and in 2011 he was detained for 81 days for his anti-government sentiments, where he was allegedly submitted to interrogation and psychological torture.
It’s expected that he will also discuss the five new commissions that will be on display just a few days later, when the exhibition launches on Friday.
Ai Weiwei will appear In Conversation with Virginia Trioli at NGV International on Monday December 7 at 6.30pm.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday 10am or, for NGV members only, Tuesday 10am, from ngv.com.au.
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei will show at the National Gallery of Victoria from 11 December 2015 to 24 April 2016.
Broadsheet is a media partner of Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei at the NGV.