New York 1983-1993 is the result of a monumental editing process. During his years in New York, Ai Weiwei became interested, then obsessed with, photography, and has taken over 10,000 photos during his life in New York in the 80s and 90s. From the vast amount of images documenting his daily life, his circle of friends - mainly artists and activists - and the changes in one of New York’s most illustrious areas during the decade between 1983 and 1993, the selected 223 photos are representative of Ai Weiwei’s growth from an ambitious, aspirational newcomer into a respected artist who has found his life-long subject, and the artistic means to toy with it.
In his own words, Ai Weiwei does not consider himself a fine art photographer. Instead, the photos he has taken in his New York era can be considered notes and sketches - documents that accompanied the journey self-discovery of a young Ai Weiwei. At the same time, the selected photographs depict a New York of drastic social changes - the gentrification of the Lower East Side, numerous protests and marches form the context to his portraits and self-portraits. It was in his New York years that Ai Weiwei discovered the political dimension in his art.
“Ai Weiwei’s foray into photography marked a turning point in which he realised that being an artist was not so much a learned skill as a deliberate lifestyle. The earliest photos, taken shortly after his departure from Parsons in 1983, are no different from the occasional snapshot that an amateur photographer might take - we see many adoring photos of his girlfriend and their new Brooklyn neighbourhood. Yet the number of pictures Ai Weiwei took each day increased dramatically, reflecting a change in his attitude about recording the minutiae of his everyday life. […]
Bored or not, Ai weiwei had a choice before pushing down the shutter button, and decided these events were worth recording.”
-excerpt from “A Way of Seeing: Notes on Ai Weiwei’s New York Photographs”, by Stephanie H. Tung
Out of Stock
- Book Size
- 290 x 285 mm
- 313 pages
- Publication Date
- Chinese, English
- Limited Edition