Trailblazing gallery Tang Contemporary Art ushers the most dynamic exhibitions to the Creative District in Bangkok.Read more
2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese lunar calendar and the gengzi year in this sexagenary cycle. The rat is the first of the twelve zodiac animals.
“Year of the Rat” begins with twelve zodiac animal heads, serving as a historical backdrop to the entire exhibition. This series fuses animal heads and Legos, two of Ai Weiwei’s familiar motifs, which are underpinned by two well-known but decidedly different historical periods. The twelve Lego works are an extension of Ai’s Circle of Animals/ Zodica Heads, which were in turn derived from the twelve zodiac heads that once adorned the Old Summer Palace. The originals were looted from the Old Summer Palace in 1860 by French and British forces and subsequently scattered around the world. Several of them have been collected and returned to Beijing. For Chinese people, these animal heads symbolize one hundred years of humiliation and they continue to activate nationalistic pride and anger.
Ai Weiwei is keenly aware of the political implications, and in replicating these animal heads, grandly displaying them as public works of art in more than forty Western cities, and modeling and mocking this discomforting part of history, he offers his commentary on memories of this historical period.
At Tang Contemporary Art, 2nd floor, River City Bangkok. Free Admission