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Meet Ai Weiwei

Portrait | Jan 16 - Feb 20, 2016

Ai Weiwei at Le Bon Marché

From January 16 to February 20, 2016, Le Bon Marché hosts the first exhibition in France of original creations by chinese artist Ai Weiwei. "Er Xi, Air de Jeux"'s monumental installations spread poetry and oneirism at the heart of the department store and in its shop windows rue de Sèvres. © Picture by Ai Weiwei's Studio

The interview

"Er Xi, Air de jeux" at Le Bon Marché is your first exhibition of creations in France... What does displaying your work in a department store like Le Bon Marché rather than in a museum mean to you?

"I am very happy that my first exhibition in France is taking place at Le Bon Marché: this is the kind of place where I love to see my creations displayed ; a place directly linked to the city, the citizens. This is not really place of art but it is associated with trends, lifestyle... This represents a real challenge for me to create pieces specifically for a department store like Le Bon Marché, which is even more interesting."

What does the city of Paris remind you of?

"Paris reminds me of my father, Ai Qing, who was a great chinese poet. He lived in Paris in the early 30s to study art. He told me about his memories and described the city to me when I was a child. When I think of Paris I try to imagine the feelings and emotions he could have lived then."

Why did you choose mythology as the theme of this exhibition at Le Bon Marché?

"The City of Paris is like a mythology to me, in other words Paris is another world to me. Mythology symbolizes a parallel world matching our imagination, our dreams, our fears, our histoire ; it's like a mirror reflecting our society and our personality. Mythology is a way to understand our world in a poetic approach. To me, personality traits and meanings embodied by the Shanhaijing mythological creatures, which I made sculptures of for "Er Xi, Air de jeux", reflect feelings and motivations that lead us in our everyday life."

What is the message you want to send to the visitors of your exhibition at Le Bon Marché?

"I hope I found the right way to get the attention of people coming to Le Bon Marché for other reasons than just art. I hope I will surprise and amaze them, make their everyday life more profound, joyful and colorful."

The City of Paris is like a mythology to me, in other words Paris is another world to me.