To celebrate Chinese New Year and herald an exciting new exhibition opening at Danson House, Bexley Heritage Trust and curators, Day + Gluckman are appealing to anyone with ceramic sunflower seeds from Ai WeiWei’s eponymous 2010 Tate Modern installation to lend them for part of the exhibition #seedsforshow.
Running from April – October, ‘Couriers of Taste’ will explore the themes of international trade, global consumerism and cross-cultural influences. It is hoped that collecting the seeds from people around the world will not only highlight the situation of one of China’s most prolific living artists, but also reinforce the show’s theme – ideas of authorship, value and shifting economic influence.
Will you lend us your sunflower seed from April – October for ‘Couriers of Taste’ at Danson House? Send an email by 8 March to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and postal address, and in return you’ll receive a pre-paid envelope and a loan form. We promise to keep your seed separate and return it to you at the end of the exhibition – or why not come and see your #seedsforshow at Danson House?
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Ai Weiwei’s hand-painted ceramic sunflower seeds, collected from and loaned by people who stole/ acquired/ disseminated the work when 100,000,000 were shown in the turbine hall of Tate Modern in 2010. Due to health and safety concerns about dust being created by the public walking on this vast beach of porcelain seeds, the work was cordoned off in its first week.
It soon became obvious that many who experienced ‘Sunflower Seeds’ at Tate Modern in that first week often discreetly wandered off with a small, smooth, hand painted ceramic seed between their fingers. This very act created a myriad of responses to the work itself. It could be argued that the huge mass of seeds hand painted by a team of workers employed by Ai in China, the notion of authorship, the shipping of the works – this trade of art – the journey and complexities, were continued by the seeds being sown, as it were, amongst the people of the UK and beyond. Clearly there is an unfolding narrative: whilst the artist himself is living under house arrest the seeds are free to travel.