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Ai Weiwei - The Silk Scarf ‘Citizens’ Investigation’ Limited Edition

Limited Edition Scarf by Ai Weiwei

Item will be dispatched withiin 14 days of order date

Papercutting is a traditional Chinese art going back 2,000 years. The colored, intricately cut papers are used as a story-telling medium in festivities, for prayers, and as everyday decoration. The black scarf takes its motif from a papercut created by Ai Weiwei as part of his Papercut Portfolio, published by TASCHEN in 2019: Citizens’ Investigation, reflecting on the somber aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 and his subsequent activism to clear up why so many victims could be found especially among schoolchildren.

Limited edition of 2,500 copies

Designed by Ai Weiwei

Black and white scarf, 100% silk, 90 x 90 cm, handwoven and hand-silkscreened, finished with hand-rolled edges; wrapped in tissue paper and packaged in cardboard box, 26 x 26 cm

Coupling impeccable crafting and beautiful storytelling, Ai Weiwei’s scarves are wearable works of art that look as well luxuriously draped over your outfit as hanging in a frame. Ai’s design for this black scarf is based on his papercut Citizens’ Investigation, reflecting on the somber aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 and his subsequent activism to clear up why so many victims could be found especially among schoolchildren. Published by TASCHEN in 2019 as part of his signed and limited Papercut Portfolio, the medium speaks to Ai’s use of traditional craftsmanship in his art, which is twofold here: as the craft of the Chinese papercut goes back 2000 years, silk weaving was invented even 5000 years ago, remaining a purely Chinese craft for many millennia. This TASCHEN exclusive by Ai Weiwei is made of high-quality Chinese twill silk, a material renowned for its particularly fine texture, woven and screen-printed by hand, and finished with hand-rolled edges.

About the motif: On May 12, 2008, a 7.9 earthquake struck China’s Sichuan Province. Its death toll reached almost 70,000, among them many schoolchildren. The papercut shows people amid the rubble: a woman holding up a picture of her missing child, helpers and investigators trying to find victims and survivors. As the Chinese government withheld information on the identities of the victims, Ai organized a team of volunteers to investigate and compile a list of the deceased children, a project known as the “Citizens’ Investigation.” It was found that due to corruption, many schools had violated official safety standards, contributing to the catastrophic number of vistims. In 2009, as he faced government retaliation for his investigation, Ai went to testify as a witness for Tan Zuoren, an activist and writer also investigating corruption issues around the earthquake. The night before the trial, Ai and his colleagues were assaulted in their hotel rooms. The image in the center is based on a photograph that Ai took of his colleagues and himself in the elevator after the assault. He suffered a brain hemorrhage, documented in the CAT scans at the bottom of the composition.

Limited edition of 2,500 copies

The Artist

Born in Beijing in 1957, Ai Weiwei is renowned for making strong aesthetic statements that resonate across today’s geopolitical world. From architecture to sculpture and installations, social media to documentaries, he uses a wide range of media for new ways of artistically examining society and its values. He is the recipient of the 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International and the 2012 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent from the Human Rights Foundation. Ai’s first feature-length documentary Human Flow premiered at the 74th Venice Film Festival in competition. He currently lives and works in Cambridge and Berlin.

The picture frame seen here is for display purposes only; the scarf is sold unframed.


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