Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze is now on display at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton.
The exhibition features 12 bronze animal heads, each about 10 feet tall and representing the traditional figures of the Chinese zodiac. Weiwei has worked with LongHouse before, having exhibited Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold in 2013. He also received the LongHouse Award that same year.
LongHouse Reserve is one of over 45 international locations that have hosted the Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze and Gold series during the last decade. The sculptures debuted at the São Paulo Biennial in 2010, and then began an international tour, arriving in the U.S. at the Pulitzer Fountain at the Grand Army Plaza in Central Park, New York in 2011. Past exhibition venues include Somerset House, London, UK; LACMA, Los Angeles; The Warhol Museum and Carnegie Museum of Art, PA; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, UK; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria;, The National Museum of Wildlife Art, WY; The Tuileries Garden at the Louvre, Paris, France; Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, Mexico; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; Contemporary Art Centre of Malaga (CAC), Malaga, Spain; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C, among other notable locations around the world.
“My work is always dealing with real or fake authenticity, and what’s the value, and how the value relates to current political and social understandings and misunderstandings,” said Weiwei in a statement. “I think [there’s] a strong humorous aspect there. So I wanted to make a complete set [of zodiac heads], including the seven original and the missing five.”
Weiwei’s sculptures are as interesting as his own personal story. In April 2011, Weiwei was detained for 81 days and later released from secret captivity by Chinese Authorities, but his passport was confiscated and he remained under house arrest until July 2015. He had to accept the LongHouse Award via video stream.
See Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze at LongHouse Reserve now through October 2021. For more information, visit longhouse.org.