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Quote of Note | Ai Weiwei


Ai Weiwei’s “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” (1995-2009)

“I did that piece ["Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn"] truly as a joke. I had three cameras that I brought back to China. And the camera could take, like, five frames every second. And, like most things, I did it quick, no plan. People think everything’s planned, but it was spontaneous. We dropped one and we didn’t get it because the photographer was paying too much attention to this valuable vase. So we had to do another one. We had two of them. Then I forgot about those photos for a while. At that time, there were no galleries, no art. I never thought I would become an artist again, you know? I started collecting old Chinese cultural relics, like jade, bronze, beautiful things. I was a top expert on Chinese antiques. Few people had my skill. That’s what I did in the ’90s. On my résumé, I don’t have a show for more than 10 years. I don’t really have any work. I did my first art show after returning to China only in 2003, in Switzerland. But now those photos have become, like, iconic in a sense. But it’s kind of kitsch, huh?”

-Artist Ai Weiwei in an interview with Christoper Bollen in the August issue of Interview

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