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Provisional Landscapes

Ai Weiwei Chinese

Not on view

This trio of images presents a gridlike expanse of low brick buildings that were perhaps old barracks, a power plant dominated by smokestacks and cooling towers, and new residential towers looming over naked trees and razed houses.

Part of a large series recorded between 2002 and 2008, when Beijing was radically transformed in anticipation of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, these images vividly document the wholesale transformation of China’s landscape by juxtaposing modern structures with older buildings being demolished. These landscapes are “provisional” because they are in transition. Photographed in winter, the leafless trees, gray skies, and absence of people intensify the sense of stark desolation.

Provisional Landscapes, Ai Weiwei (Chinese, born Beijing, 1957), Three chromogenic prints from a series, China

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