@Large on Alcatraz

2014-10-02 at 20-43-06“The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned. This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”
— Ai Weiwei

Ai Wei Wei is a prolific Chinese artist currently under house arrest in China has designed an art installation on Alcatraz Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.  2014-10-02 at 20-08-59Alcatraz is most well known as a federal prison but also was a 19th century fortress prior to that, and after it was closed as a penitentiary, became a site of a Native American occupation and protest, and is now a National Park.

@large  392Ai Wei Wei has done numerous site specific installations.  Here as with other installations, he communicates ironically through the art. On Alcatraz, the exhibit is called @Large.  The artist was never allowed to visit the site or even leave his country  – all the design and all but the final construction and installation was done remotely.   There are symbols of flight, imprisonment, freedom of speech, and conflict, all installed in the intimidating environment of one of the nation’s formerly most high security prisons.

2014-10-02 at 20-48-22 2014-10-02 at 20-50-04 2014-10-02 at 20-49-44 2014-10-02 at 21-05-11 2014-10-02 at 20-54-44
Lego  391With the site specific art, there was much more than the thing installed.  The art interacts with the space.  As striking as the installations were of the dragon, the Lego portraits of freedom fighters and the large metal wing (I didn’t get a decent picture of that to upload), in the area called Stay Tuned, 12 individual cells features a different recordings spoken word, poetry, song and music by people who have been incarcerated for creative expression. This cell below, along with a row of others echoed with the voices of freedom fighters.2014-10-02 at 21-44-10In the hospital ward, pristine white glazed porcelain flowers bloom in sinks, bathtubs, toilets.2014-10-02 at 22-12-162014-10-02 at 22-12-20Ironic comfort both pretty and sharp, inviting and not.  All in a severe environment.  Surgery  389Hospital  3902014-10-02 at 21-48-07All within clear sight of a beautiful city on the bay.2014-10-02 at 23-25-56

2014-10-02 at 23-20-57For more about @Large go here.

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About piecedgoods

I like making things, creativity, creative people, food, fabric, glass, painting, reading, my community, my family, my friends and my dogs.
This entry was posted in Art Thoughts, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to @Large on Alcatraz

  1. penworthy says:

    A beautiful post! Some of his art, the colors and combinations of colors, remind me of your quilts!

  2. nsturgill says:

    Beautiful! Hope to get there!

  3. nsturgill says:

    Thank you for sharing this!

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