Today Al Weiwei’s installation at Tate Modern comes to an end. Unfortunately, the Chinese artist is currently in the limelight due to more pressing reasons, since his arrest earlier this month, followed by the usual array of ‘solid’ evidences provided by the Chinese Government, as well as some awkward silence. It is to him that this post is dedicated, adding this insignificant voice to many others calling for his prompt release (an online petition can be signed here).
After months of procrastination, some weeks ago I finally managed to go to Tate Modern’s Turbin Hall to see Weiwei’s installation. Sunflower Seeds consists of 100 millions hand-painted porcelain ‘seeds’ brought from China to Tate Modern, to form a soft carpet for us to wander, ponder, rest and play. This is no work to face and contemplate and think and interpret as a spectator does – it is a work to dive into, a haptic space of undulating vision, rustling steps, unusual horizontality.
Generally, and even more in this case, I find moreinteresting what an artwork does, rather than what(ever) it is. The encounter with art de-polarises the artwork/spectator dichotomy, plunging us into a space of pre-subjective co-immersion: any encounter as such is a glimpse into the impossibility to maintain an ideal distance vis-