A beautiful short documentary on the Chinese artist Ai WeiWei’s sunflower seeds project, which at the same time sheds a unique insight into the traditional Chinese porcelain craft.
One Hundred Million Sunflower Seeds was an art installation at the Tate Modern , London. Ai Weiwei created the clay seeds individually using workshops in the city of Jingdezhen. The seeds seem identical, but are actually unique. These life-like sunflower seeds are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain.“Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape. Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today. Source:”`http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/unileverseries2010/
Funny note: Half way into the exhibition the English Health & Safety department decided the ceramic dust was a hazard and stopped all visitors from walking and interacting with the installation. They can now be viewed from the bridge.