Art
2,545 Hypes 0 Comments

Ai Weiwei's "Laundromat" Exhibition Spotlights Thousands of Syrian Refugee Garments

Currently on display at NYC’s Deitch Projects gallery.

Ai Weiwei recently launched a whopping four exhibitions in New York City that center upon the Syrian refugee crisis. Of the four, the Chinese artist’s “Laundromat” exhibit in Deitch Projects is perhaps his most monumental. The massive presentation pays homage to a refugee camp in Idomeni, Greece, culling an overwhelming amount of garments worn by approximately 15,000 men, women and children who found shelter in the small village this past spring. Alongside the sprawling number of shoes, shirts and jackets are personal keepsakes such as photographs that remind gallery-goers of the ongoing plight of these families and their harrowing experiences thus far.

The artist told designboom that the refugee project started in 2011 when he was arrested in Beijing. Having added that his “passport was confiscated and I was prohibited from traveling outside of china. Although I could not leave the country, I was able to stay engaged globally through the internet.” The aforesaid predicament has been Ai Weiwei’s catalyst for his extraordinary exhibitions in the Big Apple:

I decided to follow the refugees’ path. I went to the Idomeni refugee camp. It had become a bottleneck when the flow of refugees entering europe was completely shut off. Before, the refugees would travel through Idomeni on the so-called Balkan route to reach Europe. Once the Macedonian government closed the border, the camp swelled to over 15,000 refugees.

I started to take many photographs, to try to record the moment. The harsh reality can act as evidence and make us reflect on these conditions. This is a condition many people refuse to see, or try to distort or ignore. Many willfully believe this isn’t actually taking place. When you see so many children out of school, 263 million children worldwide, you can easily predict what our future holds.

Describing his experiences in Idomeni and how he decided on the name for the exhibit:

Once the refugees were forced to evacuate to different camps from Idomeni, many of those possessions were left behind. Trucks came in and loaded these items up to take towards the landfill. I decided to see if we could buy or collect them so they would not be destroyed.

With a truckload of those materials, including thousands of blankets, clothes and shoes, all impossibly dirty, we transported them to my studio in berlin. there, we carefully washed the clothes and shoes, piece by piece. each article of clothing was washed, dried, ironed, and then recorded. our work was the same as that of a laundromat.

Ai Weiwei’s “Laundromat” exhibition is currently open to the public until December 23.

Deitch Projects
76 Grand St.
New York, NY 10013
United States

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Shepard Fairey's “Visual Disobedience” Solo Show Questions Propaganda
Art 

Shepard Fairey's “Visual Disobedience” Solo Show Questions Propaganda

A 20-year retrospective.

Legendary Japanese Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki Releases a New Visual Diary
Art

Legendary Japanese Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki Releases a New Visual Diary

Featuring 1,250 photographs of his everyday life.

Watch This Compilation of Truly Unsatisfying Moments
Art

Watch This Compilation of Truly Unsatisfying Moments

Animations brilliantly portraying life’s agonizing experiences.

RETNA Takes His Artwork to the San Francisco Opera
Art

RETNA Takes His Artwork to the San Francisco Opera

Setting the stage for a modern production of ‘Aida.’

'No Work Today': Joshua Liner Gallery Enlists Parra for Its First Solo Exhibition
Art

'No Work Today': Joshua Liner Gallery Enlists Parra for Its First Solo Exhibition

Featuring twelve new paintings from the acclaimed Dutch artist.


By Appointment Only: Dr. Woo Curates "The Doctor's Office" Pop-Up Space
Art 

By Appointment Only: Dr. Woo Curates "The Doctor's Office" Pop-Up Space

The tattoo artist on fashion and his craft.

Explore Forbidden Locations in Chicago With Daring Photographer trashhand
Art

Explore Forbidden Locations in Chicago With Daring Photographer trashhand

Scale decrepit buildings and trot along railroad tracks in this immersive 360º video.

The New Hieroglyphs: It's Time We Recognize Emoji as Art
Art 

The New Hieroglyphs: It's Time We Recognize Emoji as Art

A case for Unicode as a modern Rosetta Stone.

Cleon Peterson x Case Studyo "Balance of Power" Sculpture Edition
Art

Cleon Peterson x Case Studyo "Balance of Power" Sculpture Edition

Welcome to Peterson’s “gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same.”

Captivating Photos From the 2016 Siena International Photography Awards
Art

Captivating Photos From the 2016 Siena International Photography Awards

Stunning imagery spanning wildlife, architecture and more.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.