Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles installed at Venice Architecture Biennale

For the last week Venice has been flooded with global architects, designers and artists as its’ International Architecture Biennale – curated by Rem Koolhaas – has opened up for its 14th year. As part of the creative festivities, the Lisson Gallery and Berengo Studio have curated an exhibition titled Genius Loci – Spirit of Place, showcasing sculptures, drawings and paintings from a range of high profile artists such as Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, and Giles Deacon.

The Lisson Gallery previously exhibited Ai Weiwei’s work back in 2011 whist Chinese authorities controversially held the artist on alleged economic crimes. Despite his absence from Venice this year, the Lisson Gallery has supported the artist by installing Forever Bicycles – a static grouping of 1,179 stainless steel cycle frames that visually alludes to figurative motion – in the courtyard of the Palazzo Franchetti.

Referring to the Shanghai bicycle brand Forever cycle that has been mass producing frames since the 1940s, this sculpture draws on themes of Chinese mass production and replication that we’ve previously seen in Ai Weiwei’s work such as the Sunflower Seeds project exhibited in the Tate Modern’s turbine hall back in 2010.

Ai Weiwei – Forever Bicycles (2014)

DEAC040022_18 Giles Deacon – Gap 1-8 (2004)

FINCH040004_5Spencer Finch – Night Sky, Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, 1/09/04 (2004)

By Stephanie Clair
All images courtesy of the Lisson Gallery, London.
Genius Loci – Spirit of Place will be open to the public at the Palazzo Franchetti, Venice from  June 7 – 23 November 23, 2014