Monday, July 9, 2012

Ai Weiwei: White Armchairs in Zurich

Chinese artists Ai WeiWei missed the opening of his big exhibtion in the Photography Museum in Winterthur, Switzerland last year because he had been disappeared by Chinese secret police.  Now released, he still suffers from major harassment at the hands of the authorities.  This has not stopped him from being involved in the current exhibtion in Zurich called Art and the City.  As part of this urban exhibtion Ai's White Armchairs have been installed on the Paradeplatz, the financial heart of Swiss capitalism.  The chairs stand outside the headquarters of Credit Suisse and the UBS banks.  They look comfortable, but are made of very hard marble, a material popular among the rich elite in "communist" China today. The piece seems to be called White Sofa, but these are armchairs, not sofas, or have I got that wrong?


  1. Startling public art!

    I presume that if the two were placed next to each other, they would look exactly like a couch. But that begs the question. Is the Art and the City Exhibition showing usable art objects? If the marble was never meant to function as a place to sit on, the artist could have called it just about anything.

  2. Hi Hels,

    No, most of the objects are not usable. I will upload photos of some of them during the next few days. Excellent point regarding the name. It is an uncomfortable sit, but because they are of marble I guess he can call it anything he likes. In fact, he can anyway. I'm just wondering did he really call it "sofa" or was something lost in translation.