Born in Beijing in 1957
Gelatin silver print, 1/6
63.5 x 317.5 cm
Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2006.118.1-7
Conceptual artist, designer, ceramicist and photographer Ai Weiwei is considered a pioneer in Chinese contemporary art, mainly for his exploration of the idea of resistance. A critical look at today’s China, this photograph is composed of seven images, each one showing a different part of the body of a young Chinese soldier standing guard on Tiananmen Square, Beijing. The proofs, printed on a large-format contact sheet, are presented in order like a film. The soldier in uniform embodies authority. By cutting up his image, the artist visually fragments the military impact. He also produces a time lag, leading the viewer to doubt this authority: it is difficult to take seriously the impassive gaze of the young soldier when the image on the left shows us his undone shoelaces.