Yesterday I moseyed on over to the TFAM for a look at Ai Weiwei's exhibition 'absent'. The Chinese artist is perhaps best known for helping design the Bird's Nest Stadium (of Olympic Games fame) and for his criticism of the Chinese Communist Party. Following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake he helped investigate both the inordinately high student death toll and the poor quality of school construction in that province; for the latter he was, according to him, badly beaten by police and subsequently had to undergo emergency brain surgery in Germany. This year he was in the headlines again when detained for 81 days without charge (for 'economic crimes'). He now lives under CCP supervision in Beijing and cannot leave the city, hence the title of this exhibition.
There are 21 works on display and it's only $30 to get in, so it's not a bad way to kill an afternoon. I was primarily interested in the piece, 'Forever Bicycles' which consists of an installation of about 1000 bikes all connected together.
Maybe it's a cyclist's thing, but I thought it was kinda cool. None of them have brakes but I resisted the temptation to give it a big push . There are a whole lot of his black and white photos too, which I didn't find particularly inspiring.
Anyway, I thought I'd just give the exhibition a little more oxygen here on the flob (interestingly, very few of my adult students are familiar with the name at all).
Oh, and upstairs there is also an exhibition of a Taiwanese photographer, Huang Tse-Hsiu. His sole claim to fame seems to be the luxury of a camera in Taiwan during the 1950s and 60s. Some of the better pics are 'historically interesting'. One miserable collection is dedicated to the dirty carp ponds in the gardens of CKS Memorial Hall. The rocks at Yeliu also feature prominently and one photo of amorphous rock forms, circa 1960, is titled 'Bodies of the invaders drying in the sun' . So if you venture upstairs, take your sense of humour.