AI WEIWEI (B. 1957)
signed and numbered 'AI WEIWEI 51/100' in ink
inkjet print in black and white, on Hahnemühle German etching paper
Sheet: 51 x 37 in. (129.5 x 93.9 cm.)
Executed in 2020. This work is number 51 from the edition of 100 (there were also 25 artist's proofs). Published by The Kitchen, New York.
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Lot Essay

On the occasion of The Kitchen's upcoming 50th anniversary in 2021, artist and activist Ai Weiwei had produced this special limited edition print. In recent years, Ai Weiwei has moved across the mediums of film, performance, and installation to explore the human impact of the global refugee crisis. In BOMB, Ai turns his attention to the weapons of mass destruction that are partly to blame for this crisis. Inspired by his 2019 History of Bombs exhibition, which originated at the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis and is now on view at London’s Imperial War Museum, BOMB charts the genealogy of the modern ballistic missile via 2D renderings. Ai’s genealogy is not a chronology: it does not move simply from left to right. Rather, the bombs are organized mostly by size. As they crescendo from the bottom to the top of the lithograph, the ballistics remind the viewer that bombs escalate conflict more often than they resolve it. Yet they also remind the viewer of the bomb’s peculiar, though devastating, beauty.

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