UPDATE: The NGV has confirmed that the Lego collection car in the NGV Sculpture Garden will open to the public today (Wednesday October 28) at 3.30pm, instead of the originally stated date of Thursday October 29. Donations will accepted daily between 10am–5pm.
In the midst of an international controversy, Ai Weiwei has confirmed that the National Gallery of Victoria will become the first international Lego collection point outside of Beijing for his latest art project.
The Chinese artist and dissident was refused a request for a bulk order of Lego by the Danish company due to the artwork’s “political agenda”.
Since news of the Lego Group’s refusal emerged through Ai’s Instagram account on Saturday, the artist has decided to make a new work in response, to defend freedom of speech and “political art”. In support of the new project, thousands of people have offered to donate their Lego.
The artist’s initial request for Lego was for a major new installation for the NGV’s upcoming exhibition, Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, to open in December 2015. The original installation was to be mosaic portraits of 20 Australian human-rights activists, including Geoffrey Robertson QC and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
As confirmed this evening, a car will be placed in the sculpture garden of the NGV as a repository for the Lego blocks. Donors are encouraged to bring their Lego blocks and drop them through the sunroof of the car.
The NGV’s director Tony Ellwood is currently in Beijing with Ai. Speaking from the artist’s Beijing studio this afternoon, he said: “ We have received many offers of donations of Lego in the past days. People have shown their generosity, creative spirit and enthusiasm to become engaged in this project, and we are pleased to be the first international collection point.”
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei will show at the National Gallery of Victoria from 11 December 2015 to 24 April 2016.