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Ai Weiwei: cork elected to create original work

Ai Weiwei: cork elected to create original work

Our raw material was used to create Brainless Figure in Cork, a sculptural self-portrait by the activist that is part of Ai Weiwei - Rapture exhibition. Blog


Cork is one of the materials chosen by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to create original works in Portugal. Brainless Figure in Cork, a sculptural self-portrait by the activist, was produced by Amorim Cork Composites, from high density agglomerated cork and is part of the exhibition, Ai Weiwei - Rapture, that opened at the Cordoaria Nacional, in Lisbon, on 4 June.

Brainless Figure in Cork

Unlike a traditional sculpture, the preparatory work for Brainless Figure in Cork (91 x 81 x 148 cm) involved a CNC cutting machine to guarantee technical precision. A craftsman then sculpted several details that could only be fine-tuned using manual methods. As in the cork cycle, this artistic project is born from the combination of handmade work, state-of-the-art technologies and the grandeur of Nature.

This is the second time that Ai Weiwei - one of the world’s most influential contemporary artists – is working with cork from Amorim. The first occasion was in the context of the Serpentine Summer Pavilion in 2012, signed by him and the Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron. This was a circular structure consisting of about 100 pieces of furniture made from Portuguese agglomerated cork. 

The Ai Weiwei - Rapture exhibition comprises 85 works, including photographs, videos / films and installations, and large, medium and small-sized sculptures. On display at the Cordoaria Nacional until November 28, the exhibition will bring some of the Chinese artist’s most iconic works to Portugal, such as Forever Bicycles (2015), a monumental sculpture with 960 stainless steel bikes, Snake Ceiling (2008), a large snake-shaped installation made of hundreds of children's backpacks, in memory of the students killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, or the Law of the Journey (Prototype B) (2016), a 16-metre inflatable boat with human figures, alluding to one of the most recurring themes in the artist's work: the global refugee crisis. The other Portuguese materials used by Ai Weiwei to produce many of his original works include stone, tile and fabrics.



Juliette Bayen


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