onsdag 2 november 2011

Tiny work of art

These are my sunflowers seeds that I picked in my garden this weekend and are saving for planting next spring.

Photo Tate Modern

These are Chinese artist Ai Weiwei seeds, each hand-fired and hand-painted by inhabitants of Jingdezhen, the town that once made porcelain for the imperial court . The seeds are an installment by Ai Weiwei that was showed at the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern October 2010.

The sunflower seeds in the installation refer to hunger and collective work but also to everyday life. During the Cultural Revolution, when many Chinese were starving the sunflower seeds could be the only thing they had left to eat.

Photograph: Fiona Hanson/PA

1600 inhabitants of Jingdezhen made a 100 million replica sunflowers seeds. Just imagine the amount of work put into it. I made a quick calculation…

100 000 000 seeds
4 strokes of paint per seed
400 000 000 paint strokes in total
1600 inhabitants of Jingdezhen making them
62 500 seeds made by each person
250 000 strokes of paint made by each person in total

Makes your head spin!

When I look at my tiny little seed I imagine how it would feel to look at one of Ai Weiwei`s, made maybe by an old lady or a schoolboy. How they would have picked up every tiny seed and ever so carefully painted the four strokes of paint with a tiny brush. I wonder if they could grasp the enormity of the installation, what they were actually being a part of and if they felt proud.

Sometimes art is pretty amazing!

Take care

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