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  • Day20

    Return to La Boca

    March 7, 2018 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    In La Boca is a modern art museum — PROA — which had an exhibit of art and installations created by the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Wei Wei. Since Kelly lives in Flagstaff, she figured that her chances of seeing an Ai Wei Wei exhibit were slim, so we headed back to see it.

    Although I had seen two Ai Wei Wei pieces before, I had never seen an entire exhibition. It was fantastically interesting. Ai Wei Wei is a Chinese activist who uses art to explore issues relating to oppression, exclusion from society, and the reach of communism in China. As Kelly pointed out, much of his work is extremely difficult to understand without explanations. However, with the explanations, the work is fascinating. In one series, Ai Wei Wei photographed himself while he destroyed a piece of invaluable piece of pottery from the Ming Dynasty, then he converted the photos into life-size “pictures” made out of legos. According to the explanations, he was exploring issues of heritage, the fragility of history and modernity. My favorite piece is a monumental installation of a “carpet” of “sunflower seeds.” This piece was originally installed in the Tate Museum in London. The carpet of seeds covered most of the large exhibit hall in London, and a sizable room in PROA. The seeds were spread approximately 6 inches in depth, and covered the entire floor. When in London, there were 150 tons of seeds. Each seed was supposed to represent the Chinese citizens who were bowed by communism. What was not apparent when you first looked at the seeds, is that they were not actually sunflower seeds, but pieces of clay that had been molded into the shape of seeds, painted, cleaned and polished. A crew of 1600 individuals in China worked for months in creating these seeds, and then they were transported to London, where they were installed in the Tate Museum. Fortunately, the exhibition was accompanied by a film and photos of the process. Super cool.

    After the museum, we wandered around La Boca and had lunch at a parilla, where we sat outside. What a wonderful last meal in Argentina.
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