Apart from having a name that is impossibly fun to say, Ai Weiwei known for being the most provocative voice in contemporary Chinese art.
A throne in the side of the Communist government, Ai’s critical voice has made him a household name, as the recent success of the new documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, attests.
His questioning nature, intolerance of injustice, and rebellious streak have won him fans across the globe, as has his work, which flits adeptly between sculpture, installation art, architecture, film, and photography.
One of the exhibitions that helped established his reputation was the now famed 2000 show, 不合做方式展览, or the more acerbic “Fuck Off” in English. Although the literal translation of the phrase is the rather charming “uncooperative approach”, the more abrupt English title was thought to be more engaging for an international audience.
The exhibition was conceived as a counterpoint to the Shanghai Biennale, the city’s highest profile contemporary art event, offering the flip side to the whiter-than-white government controlled review of the country’s contemporary art scene.
Taking the theme of the exhibition literally, Ai’s contribution to the exhibition included a series of now famous photographs titled “A Study of Perspective” in which he gives the finger to a whole host of international landmarks and seats of power – from the White House to the Forbidden City.
Ever an iconoclast, Ai also presented a series of images of him smashing a Han Dynasty Chinese vase, which we have animated here.
Ai’s rebellious approach is one that is often found in fashion, and while international relations between Japan and China are far from rosy, his is a spirit shared by Undercover designer Jun Takahashi.
In fact, a recent set of wallets from Undercover feel like they could have been part of that famed exhibition, held over a decade ago.