Ai Weiwei is one of China's most well known contemporary artists. He is a conceptual artist adept in diverse media, including sculpture, installation, architecture, photography and film. He is regarded as one of the most prominent cultural figures of his generation. The 'Bubble' is part of Ai Weiwei's creative research on classical Chinese artifacts and especially the investigation of porcelain, arguably China's most highly regarded classical art form. To thoroughly recreate the imperial splendor of porcelain, each piece was uniquely created in the former Imperial kiln of Jingdezhen. The town is famous historically as the capital of porcelain making since the Han dynasty. The gleaming, delicate glazed surface of each piece reflects the ever-changing surroundings, rendering each tone ephemeral. Each 'Bubble' takes on a life of its own. Bringing traditional craftsmanship into contemporary forms has been Ai Weiwei's practice since the late 1970s. Ai Weiwei has been recognized through many major solo exhibitions internationally. Currently, a retrospective of his works is traveling throughout major museums in the USA and Canada.
"As to my porcelain-based works, the central issue is the issue of authenticity. What is real and what is fake or a reproduction? My porcelain works are the highest quality blue-and-white porcelain. Here is something packed with historical and cultural meaning. The works I've commissioned were of imperial guan standards, reproductions of the finest blue-and-white porcelain of the Kangxi, Qianlong, and Yongzheng periods [three different reign eras], which in turn represented the apex of China's porcelain tradition. During this period, there was nothing more prized. Porcelain production, collection and connoisseurship had reached their pinnacle, the peak of their cultural authority." (See Joseph Newland, Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn, Ceramic Works, 5000 BCE 2010 CE., Office for Discourse Engineering, Beijing, 2010, p. 42)
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