Ai Weiwei
Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold
November 17 - December 23, 2011
Paul Kasmin Gallery
515 West 27th Street, New York

On view for the first time, the gold set of Ai Weiwei’s bronze sculptures, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold (2010), will be shown from November 17th through December 23rd, 2011, in conjunction with the book launch. The twelve animal heads, each depicting a segment of the ancient Chinese zodiac, are based on a complex fountain and clock system that was built for an imperial retreat in 18th century China. Located at the Old Summer Palace just outside Beijing, the original fountain-clock was designed by two European Jesuits at the behest of Emperor Qianlong. When the retreat was looted by European soldiers, the bronze animal heads were stolen and only seven of the twelve are known to survive. Ai Weiwei has re-interpreted these objects, pursuing his ongoing exploration of the “fake” and the copy of the original, as well as the repatriation of cultural heritage. Ai Weiwei’s larger bronze set of Zodiac Heads is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through February 12th, 2012.

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