CMCI academic and visual culture specialist Dr Richard Howells recommends the much-anticipated Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts from September 19th to December 13, 2015:
“You don’t have to be admirer of Ai Weiwei’s history of dissidence (although I do) in order to be impressed by his new exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Yes: His work is overwhelmingly socially-committed, but is also witty and inventive. Crucially (and this is where so much merely “conceptual” art falls down), it is has an aesthetic integrity combined with an understanding of the value of materials and of form.
Some of the work –which takes up eleven of the RA’s main Burlington House rooms- is already familiar: I saw a number of the same works at his exhibition in New York last summer. But this London exhibition presents them well and the work –unlike the artist himself for 81 days in detention in 2011- is given room to breathe.”