Internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been much in the news
lately. On 3 April this year he was detained at the Beijing airport while en
route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio
compound. In Britain, he is possibly best known for his Tate Modern
installation “Sunflower Seeds” that was part of the Unilever series, and was
shown between 12 October 2010 and 2 May 2011.

Ai WeiWie's Design Works

Moon Chests

The moon chests series is executed according to a mathematical formula that permits for 81 unique permutations; each cabinet has four apertures that mimic the stages of a lunar eclipse. The chests are constructed from huali wood, an extremely dense and resilient wood that is often used in making chinese furniture, and assembled with expert joinery methods utilizing no nails or screws.
Divina Proportion
Descending Light
Bamboo with Porcelain
Dress with Flowers
Marble Chair

Two-Legged Table

Forever Bicycles

Soft Ground
Cube Light

Jacques Herzog, Ai Weiwei and Pierre de Meuron

Ai was the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the "Bird's Nest." Although ignored by the Chinese media, he has voiced his anti-Olympics views. He later distanced himself from the project, saying, "I've already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have photographs with it," saying it is part of a "pretend smile" of bad taste.
Ai's artwork has been exhibited in China, Japan, Korea, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Israel, Brazil and the United States.
Solo exhibitions include Stiftung DKM, Duisburg (2010); Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland (2010); Arcadia University Gallery, Glenside (2010); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2009); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2009); Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing (2009); Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Cambelltown Arts Center, Sydney (2008); Groninger Museum, Groningen (2008).
Ai Weiwei’s work was included in the 48th Venice Biennale in Italy (1999), 1st Guangzhou Triennale in China (2002), 1st Monpellier Biennial of Chinese Contemporary Art in France (2005), The 2nd Guangzhou Triennial (2005), Busan Biennial in Korea (2006), The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Australia (2006), Documenta 12 in Germany (2007), Liverpool Biennial International 08 in the United Kingdom (2008), 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale and the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2010).
Snake Ceiling

Snake Ceiling was created from school back-packs - the same brand as those used by children killed in the Sichuan Earthquake. The earthquake occurred in August 2008, killing thousands of schoolchildren.
Tate Modern (Close up)
Tate Modern

Tate Modern: “Sunflower Seeds is made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. However realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain.
Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape.
Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today.”
Tea House

“Teahouse” is composed of 432 compressed tea cubes.
Zodiac Heads

At Somerset House in London, Ai Weiwei has arranged 12 oversized bronze heads of animals, each about 4ft high and weighing about 800lb, and each representing a sign of the Chinese zodiac - rat, tiger, rabbit goat, pig and so on.
The heads are inspired by the water-spouting originals that adorned an 18th-century fountain-clock commissioned by the Emperor Qianlong for his summer pavilion outside Beijing. In 1860, French and British troops looted the palace and carried off the heads. The whereabouts of five are still not known , but the Chinese government wants any of the others that are in Western collections returned.
The irony is that the heads aren’t Chinese. They were designed and modelled in a recognisably European style by the Jesuit missionary Giuseppe Castiglione, a favourite at the imperial court who taught Chinese artists how to synthesise European perspective with traditional painting techniques.

In response to the recent arrest and detainment of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Beijing, the Guggenheim has launched an online petition to express concern for Ai’s freedom and call for his release. Leading museums around the world have joined and launched the online petition through their Web sites, Twitter, and Facebook sites, including the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD); Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; and the Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris