Ch01.Blog12 Seeking some resistance
by Nick Cain
There’s a wonderful exhibition happening currently at the National Gallery of Victoria which draws the connection between two influential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first century, Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei.
Having been invited to the exhibition whilst l was passing through Melbourne by my fellow podcast host, Lauren, I thought it was a prime opportunity to test out our theme for the month in a slightly different way, and use this as an opportunity to pick one piece of art that really resonated with me from the exhibition around the idea of resistance, and then share with you why.
As you can imagine, there was a plethora of brightly coloured, pop works and installations as per both artist’s particular styles. And there were so many pieces l could have shared. For instance, l could have chosen Warhol’s soup can images as a rally against mass-produced consumerism, or Wei Wei’s “middle finger salute” collage to authoritarian buildings he visited around the world.
Most of you would know Warhol quite well, but some of you mightn’t be as familiar with Ai Weiwei. He is a Chinese contemporary artist who is inspired by Warhol in many ways across his own offerings. And it was one of Wei Wei’s pieces, a simple photo, that caught my eye.
Here is the photographic piece l chose:
It is a photograph taken by Ai Wei Wei of his wife, Lu Qing. The photograph was taken on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations five years later in 1994.
It’s a simple, saucy image – with a healthy smattering of significance. It instantly evoked a reaction in me that gained power the more l looked at it.
It’s an act of defiance and expression of personal freedom that goes unnoticed.
Whether it’s a sheer moment of luck, in an area known possibly for some of the greatest denials of freedom and one of the most recognisable acts of resistance of the 20th Century, it’s a beautifully poignant, irreverent moment.
Resistance can so often have negative connotations in how it influences our lives. But in some cases, resistance can become a powerful weapon to effect change. In this case, it is a simple display of awareness in the form of some cheeky art.
How do you use resistance as a tool for change in your life?
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