Ai Weiwei – Year of the Ox

Ai Weiwei - Year of the Ox

Ai Weiwei - Year of the OxPace Prints presents their first solo exhibition of the acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China). Ai Weiwei: Year of the Ox will be on view April 29 – May 29 at Pace Prints, 521 West 26th Street, and will include a selection of Ai’s iconic sculpture and limited edition works. In conjunction with this exhibition, Pace Prints will release a new limited print edition, Year of the Ox (2021).

Acknowledging the ancient Chinese lunar New Year, Ai Weiwei: Year of the Ox centers on Ai’s twelve-part work Zodiac (2018). This series of portraits is made of brightly colored LEGO bricks that reference the artificial Day-Glo palette of Warhol silkscreens and depict the traditional Chinese zodiac animal heads.

The artist recreated these objects earlier in his career with the celebrated series of sculptures Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze and Gold(2010), from which the impressive gold Zodiac Head: Gold (Ox) is presented in this exhibition. Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads sculptures have been touring the globe to great acclaim for over a decade and have been exhibited at over 45 international venues, making it one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of modern and contemporary art.

The fraught history of the zodiac heads objects is still a point of cultural tension: the original works were part of elaborate water fountain at the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing. In 1860, those works were stolen after the Summer Palace was sacked and burned by French and British armies. While several of the original heads were returned to China, the whereabouts of five animals (dragon, ram, snake, rooster, and dog) remain unknown to this day. By re-creating these celebrated objects, Ai Weiwei calls into question complex themes concerning historical grievance, acts of looting, destruction, nationalism, repatriation, authenticity, and forgery.

Carrying the theme of the zodiac animals through to the medium of silkscreen, Ai’s colorful new edition Year of the Ox (2021), to be released exclusively by Pace Prints, counterbalances the historic and symbolic value of these cultural artifacts with the irreverent language of Pop Art.

Medium: 22-color screenprint
Size: 40 x 40 inches
Edition of 58
Signed and numbered
Price: on request.

This limited edition Ai weiwei print is available at Pace Prints