Ai Weiwei, ‘Stool’, 2012, Heritage Auctions

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Serpentine Gallery, signed by Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, and Ai Weiwei. Based on the cork stools presented as part of the Pavilion, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei have created a Limited Edition porcelain stool especially for the Serpentine Gallery. This beautiful object combines a delicate surface with a seemingly functional form, referencing Herzog & de Meuron's sustained interest in revealing new relationships through unexpected uses of materials. Similarly, this work alludes to Ai Weiwei's frequent use of hand-sculpted porcelain, traditionally regarded as China's highest art form. From his early works using Neolithic and Han dynasty vases, to his recent installation of porcelain sunflower seeds in the Tate's Turbine Hall, this Edition is exemplary of Weiwei's enduring relationship with ceramics.

Signature: Stamped

Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, London, June 1-October 14, 2012.

Serpentine Gallery; Private collection, London.

About Ai Weiwei

A cultural figure of international renown, Ai Weiwei is an activist, architect, curator, filmmaker, and China’s most famous artist. Open in his criticism of the Chinese government, Ai was famously detained for months in 2011, then released to house arrest. “I don’t see myself as a dissident artist,” he says. “I see them as a dissident government!” Some of Ai’s best known works are installations, often tending towards the conceptual and sparking dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production. For Sunflower Seeds (2010) at the Tate Modern, he scattered 100 million porcelain “seeds” handpainted by 1,600 Chinese artisans—a commentary on mass consumption and the loss of individuality. His infamous Coca Cola Vase (1994) is a Han Dynasty urn emblazoned with the ubiquitous soft-drink logo. Ai also served as artistic consultant on the design of the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for Beijing’s 2008 Olympics, and has curated pavilions and museum exhibitions around the globe.

Chinese, b. 1957, Beijing, China, based in Beijing, China