12 September 2011

Sculpture: Sunflower seeds

Sunflower Seeds
Ai Weiwei

I don't see as much visual art as I would like to, but would have loved to see Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern earlier this year.

I discovered it while proofreading crossword puzzle clues. Even the dullest of jobs can lead to unexpected beauty.

What looks like a large pile of sunflower seeds is about 100 million individual porcelain sculptures, hand painted and hand fired by residents of the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. It took 1600 people two and a half years to make enough seeds.Sunflowers seeds have fed millions during famine in China and the flower was adopted by Mao Zedong as a symbol of his sunniness.

Sadly, very few people had the joy of interacting with the sculpture as the dust it produced was soon deemed health damaging.

Artist Ai Weiwei was the artistic consultant for Olympic Games Beijing National Stadium; he was also was arrested and detained by the Chinese government for three months this year for "economic crimes".

And check out Ebay to see what one of these tiny sculptures is worth.

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