Ai Weiwei’s groupings of stainless-steel bikes – configured in ever-expanding modular shapes and layers of geometrically stacked and fused individual frames, to create one larger structure – refer to the famous ‘Forever’ brand of bicycles that have been mass-manufactured in Shanghai since 1940. Once ubiquitous, this classic marque and indeed the perceived profusion of pushbikes on Beijing streets are now steadily dying out, to be replaced by cars. This irony is not lost on Ai or in the title of this series, which can incorporate as few as two bicycles and as many as 3,144. As in other works by Ai, not only does this multiplication suggest a congregation of people or a massing of humanity, but the underlying concepts of assembling, repeating and copying also play an important role, as does the lasting influence of Marcel Duchamp.
Represented by Lisson Gallery.
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