Ai Wei Wei, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn

Ai Wei Wei, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn

Ai Wei Wei is one of art’s most provocative figures.

In 1995, Ai Wei Wei released a series of photographs titled ‘Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn’. As the title suggests, the work showed Wei Wei himself dropping a cultural artefact that was estimated to cost anywhere in the hundreds of thousands. Not only was it expensive but the urn was also a sacred symbol of Chinese history.

This of course was all intentional as Wei Wei sought to remind the world of the evils of the Mao Zedong regime as well as comment on heritage loss and preservation.

The destruction of such a piece was decried by some as unethical. To which Wei Wei responded with the words of Mao, ‘the only way of building a new world is by destroying the old one’. To make matters worse, Ai Wei Wei later admitted he actually had to destroy two urns as the photographer wasn’t quick enough to catch it the first time.

- Sidedish Projects

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