AI Weiwei; Boomerang
Ai Weiwei's works respond to China's rich artistic heritage by reconfiguring objects such as Ming and Qing dynasty furniture, Han dynasty urns and Neolithic vases. He frequently incorporates acts of destruction and reconstruction in the creation of his work. Often his re-configured pieces are positioned in dramatic new situations where notions of value and authenticity are questioned.
As extravagant symbols of affluence and aspiration, chandeliers provide all the Versailles-style bling that China's increasing affluent middle-class could hope for in the adornment of their homes, hotels and shopping malls. They are a fitting vehicle for Ai Weiwei's incisive observations on value and meaning and, where worth and status can be measured in crystal drops, bigger is definitely better. Composed of 270 000 crystal pieces which cascade to ground level, the impressive yet delicate bulk of Ai Weiwei's Boomerang, when installed for 'The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' 2006, filled the soaring space of the Queensland Art Gallery's Watermall, distorting one's sense of scale and perspective (just as great or sudden wealth may do). Boomerang is a beguiling dreamscape of sparkling luminosity and a spectacular monument to consumption and display with a finely honed sting in the tail.