As his personal circumstances move in constant flux, Ai Weiwei remains a cultural magnet. Renowned for his political stance and social media activityalmost as much as for his social interventions, contemporary approach to the readymade, and knowledge of Chinese traditional crafts, Ai's fame extends throughout and beyond the art world.
Drawn from TASCHEN's limited Collector's Edition, this book offers a definitive Ai Weiwei monograph, exploring each of his career phases in equal detail and depth. It features extensive visual material to trace Ai's development from his early New York days right through to his most recent practice. Focus moments include his international breakthrough in the early 2000s, his porcelain Sunflower Seeds at the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, his response to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, and his police detention in 2011. With images including behind-the-scenes studio pictures and production shots and numerous statements derived from exclusive interviews with Ai, we gain privileged access to the artist's process, influences, and importance.
The book includes insightful texts from Uli Sigg, Ai's longtime friend and former Swiss ambassador to China; Roger M. Buergel, who curated the 2007 documenta and hosted the artist's Fairytale piece; and experts on Chinese culture and politics: Carlos Rojas, William A. Callahan, and James J. Lally.