Ai Weiwei at the Museum of Cycladic Art

The Museum of Cycladic Art (MCA) in Athens will hold and exhibition of works by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. It will be the artist’s first exhibition within an archeological museum and his first exhibition in Greece. It will introduce audiences to his practice through many of his significant works, placing them within the museum’s renowned collection. Ai Weiwei will also unveil new works inspired by the permanent archeological collection of the museum.

The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC. Apart from archaeology, the MCA has an ongoing contemporary art exhibition programme aiming to introduce the public to important 21st century artists. The museum invited Ai Weiwei to exhibit a series of works that would explore his practice and the emphasis his work places on history and heritage, as well as his critical examination of current political and social issues.
The exhibition will explore his use of materials often associated with antiquity such as marble, as well as the craftsmanship and traditional techniques of wood. Through this he will create a dialogue with ancient Cycladic art, giving poignancy to the display in an archeological museum. The 25 artworks on display will include celebrated works Grapes (2011), Divina Proportione (2012), Mask (2011), Cao (2014), as well as a new, unseen work inspired by the museum’s significant archeological collection.

Ai Weiwei’s collaboration with the MCA began in 2015 and following the Museum’s invitation, the artist visited Athens as well as the island of Lesbos. He has since set up a studio on the island to create art that will draw attention to the refugee crisis in Greece. A number of new works will feature in Ai Weiwei at Cycladic, creating a true cross-cultural depiction of past, present and a universal hope for the future.

The MCA will be donating 10% of all exhibition proceeds to two NGOs; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Greek NGO METAdrasi, who are providing valuable aid to the refugees in Greece.

Sandra Marinopoulos, President of the Museum of Cycladic Art said: “In the context of our contemporary art program we have long been keen on presenting Ai Weiwei’s work at the Museum of Cycladic Art. I am thrilled that we are able to host Ai Weiwei’s first ever exhibition in an archeological museum and introduce him to our Greek audience! His constant dialogue between the ancient and the new will be manifested through the creation of a new marble work inspired by our permanent collection.”

Michael Frahm, Exhibition Curator said: “Ai’s work often looks to the past for its inspiration and as an artist he has often worked with materials that have deep cultural associations. This is why the Museum of Cycladic Art is the ideal location for his first exhibition in Greece. Their historic and important collection speaks to his appreciation of the past and his hope for the future. We are also delighted to be working with the museum to directly benefit the people Ai has encountered during his time in Lesbos.”

Ai Weiwei at Cycladic
20 May – 30 October 2016
Museum of Cycladic Art – 4, Neofytou Douka str. / Vas. Sophias & Hrodotou 1
Admission: €7
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10.00-17.00; Thu: 10.00-20.00; Sun: 11.00-17.00; Tue closed

PHOTO: MCA / Paris Tavitian