Ai Weiwei: Printing Power

Ai Weiwei: Printing Power

Go behind the scenes at Make-Ready in London as Ai Weiwei reflects on the profundities of printmaking, and its lineage within his practice.

2 min read

From homages to paper cut artworks by his father, to the unfettered middle fingers that comprise Study of Perspective, printed images have been a consistent outlet for Ai Weiwei since he began making art amidst the Cultural Revolution of 1960s China. Today, he sees printmaking as a valuable mode of dissemination, allowing his art – and by extension, ideas – to escape the confines of institutions and reach a broader public.

Printed at Make-Ready and launched to coincide with a landmark exhibition at the Design Museum in London, a series of limited edition artworks unite traditional and experimental processes to exhort fundamental freedoms.

Opportunities to collect

Free Speech addresses rife global friction between self-expression and censorship, while flashes of mirror in Human Flow unpick adversarial attitudes to global migration. Middle Finger in Black illuminates Weiwei’s iconic gesture of defiance in gold leaf – applied by hand to every print. Finally, an edition of Murano glass vases reprise his wry juxtapositions of ancient forms with emblems of modernity.

Making sense

Staged at the Design Museum in London, Making Sense engages Weiwei’s expansive and amorphous practice through the lens of design, architecture and material culture. Pairing new and archival works with excerpts from his own collections, the landmark exhibition interrogates our relationship with the objects that surround us – from one-of-a-kind artefacts, to the anonymous outputs of mass production.

Proceeds from each of Weiwei's limited edition artworks will support the museum's future.

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense
the Design Museum
April 7 – July 30, 2023

Perspectives on Power

Since 1996 Ai Weiwei has raised his finger to bastions of power worldwide. He calls the series Study of Perspective. With the images he forewarns the perils of blind collectivism. Of a culture without questions. Of surrender to seemingly immovable objects. From this perspective, the power of an obscene gesture is that anyone can make it.

We’ve collaborated with Weiwei to make his emblematic middle finger available to all – inviting anyone and everyone to share their own perspective on power in a new, interactive artwork. Add yours to the archive now.

I think it's good to remember that this part of your body can point to something – an institution, or someone that resembles a power – to let them know, and let yourself know, that you exist.

Ai Weiwei

Middle Finger
Take part

Director, editor, stills · Tim Craig
Camera · Mike Iles
Sound, second camera · Anand Singh

All artworks courtesy of Ai Weiwei



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