The exhibition showcased photographs taken by the artist while he lived in New York in the 80’s and 90’s. None of these had ever been shown before. They were selected from a collection of over ten thousand photographs that capture the history, culture and atmosphere of the era, from Ai Weiwei’s unique perspective on art and society. They illustrate the rich variety of the social life, artistic creativity, people and events around him at the time. These images document those ten years’ evolution but perhaps more importantly reveal the world through Ai Weiwei’s eyes and trace the beginnings of his conceptual art practice.
The photographs record his life and work and do carry the stamp of the times. They are not however a perfect chronicle of the artist’s life in New York, but rather, may be seen as snapshots of his surroundings that reveal his thoughts and attitudes at a precise point in time, and are an invaluable piece of visual history for him personally as well as for contemporary art.