The Viennese spring and summer have numerous exhibition treats for those interested in art: Hockney, Munch, Klimt and Cranach to name but four. The Albertina Modern tops the list with the most comprehensive Ai Weiwei retrospective to date.
- Works span over four decades of creativity and commentary
- Over 140 works on display
- Runs Mar 16 – Sept 4, 2022
- See also:
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
In search of humanity
(Ai Weiwei; Surveillance Camera, 2010; Marble; Image courtesy of the artist; private Collection)
Weiwei’s work has appeared in Vienna before; the Chinese Whispers exhibition at the MAK back in 2019 featured the remarkable Descending Light with A Missing Circle and other creations.
The In Search of Humanity exhibition at the Albertina Modern lifts things to another level, though.
Ai Weiwei himself acknowledges the show as the largest retrospective of his work the world has yet seen.
As a retrospective, it (of course) takes in the artist and activist’s full creative chronology with important works from each phase, whether paintings, films, photos, large installations, ceramics, or sculptures.
Equally, a pervading theme is Ai Weiwei as commentator on both humanity and art, a role that has seen him, for example, stretch out a middle finger (literally and figuratively) to authoritarianism, censorship, inequality, and corruption in its various forms around the world.
(Click/tap for ticket options for the Albertina Modern exhibitions)
Such an important figure in world art needs no further analysis or presentation from some minor travel writer like myself. But a trip around the exhibition leaves the impression of unbridled creativity and a burning social conscience.
Many works serve as a memorial to the victims of injustice.
Others jolt the viewer out of their comfort zone, working like a stone in the shoe and refusing to let us continue in equanimity and obliviousness to the problems around us.
Many poke subversive fingers at authority.
And some surprise: an abstract wall of Lego, for example, reveals itself as an observation on the Tiananmen Square protests.
Tickets, dates & tips
Enjoy the Ai Weiwei retrospective from March 16th to September 4th, 2022. Simply purchase an entrance ticket* for the Albertina Modern to see any of the exhibition(s) inside.
Another event at the Albertina Modern overlapping with the Ai Weiwei exhibition is The Face, featuring top examples from the institution’s extensive archive of portrait photos.
The Albertina Modern lives in the refurbished Künstlerhaus building, also home to the same-named artist association. So look for their exhibitions, too. For example, Whiteness as Property runs across the early part of the Ai Weiwei exhibition, critically exploring property relations in the context of racism.
For more contemporary art, pop over the road to Karlsplatz square from early summer: there should be a street art exhibition across the fencing that surrounds the construction site for the new Wien Museum building.
How to get to the exhibition
See the main Albertina Modern overview for travel tips.
Address: Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna