Exhibitions/ Art Object

Provisional Landscapes

Ai Weiwei (Chinese, born Beijing, 1957)
Three chromogenic prints from a series
Image (each photo): 38 1/4 × 48 in. (97 × 122 cm) Each panel: 117 1/4 × 50 in. (298 × 127 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong
Rights and Reproduction:
© Ai Weiwei
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.
Acquired directly from the artist in 2005 by Uli Sigg, a Swiss private collector. Donated to the M+ Museum of Visual Culture in 2012.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.