Dissident activist artist (delete as applicable) Ai Weiwei debuted his new installation ‘S.A.C.R.E.D’ at the church of Sant Antonin in Venice.
Ai’s new installation mainly contains dioramas, which depict the scenes from his imprisonment. In 2011, Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in a secret prison under deep surveillance.
According to Complex:
Each individual diorama is held in a 2 1/2 ton iron box. They show the artist being monitored by guards. Ai said the details were painstakingly rendered from memory. It is a confrontational work, displaying human suffering to visitors who should be prepared for an experience.
Ai’s installation reportedly moved his mother to tears.
According to CBC News:
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was prevented by Chinese authorities from travelling to Venice for the opening of two of his new works on the sidelines of the city’s Biennale contemporary art show, so his mother came in his stead.
The activist-artist’s elderly mother, Gao Ying, viewed for the first time on Tuesday a series of dioramas depicting six episodes of intense pressure during her son’s 81 days in detention in 2011.
Gao walked quietly through the exhibit, peering through openings in the 1.5-metre high boxes — inside which the artist had reconstructed in great detail scenes of his captivity. His mother did not speak to journalists who documented the moment, but she was moved to tears as she left the exhibit in the church of Sant’Antonin.
“He is making something right that was wrong,” said Maurizio Bortolotti, who curated the two collateral exhibits. “I think it is very symbolic. Every piece has seen a human and moral distortion.”
Ai’s detention in April 2011 was due to his political activism highlighting corruption in the aftermath of 2008 quake.