Ai Weiwei Has Installed a Carpet of Sunflower Seeds at Mary Boone Gallery

NEW YORK—It looks like there are real David’s sunflower seeds on the floor of the Mary Boone Gallery, but the beveled-edge installation was actually created with millions of hand-painted, porcelain seeds.

Ai Weiwei worked with artisans in Jingdezhen in northern Jiangxi, China, to produce five tons of seeds. The artist and human rights activist uses his art to inspire social change.

“The sunflower, with its destiny to follow the sun, became a common metaphor for The People during China’s Cultural Revolution,” the gallery says. “Ai Weiwei demonstrates that a staggering quantity of individual seeds may produce a deceptively unified field. The work is a commentary on social, political and economic issues pertinent to contemporary China: the role of the individual versus the masses, and China’s long history of labor-intensive production and export.”

“Sunflower Seeds” is on view from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4, 2012.

All photos by Arts Observer

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