(K. Brent Tomer),
FOR artists, acts of war and iconoclasm often serve as a call to arms, triggering creative expressions of rebellion and dissent. Over the past half century, contemporary artists have created powerful works whose genesis lies in destruction. These artworks question the meaning and weight of losses, whether of cultural heritage or human life.
Some have reacted to destruction with destruction. Born in 1957, Ai Weiwei came of age during China’s Cultural Revolution. A dark period in China’s history, during which the country’s historical sites and artefacts were subject to devastating damage, the Cultural Revolution has found ironic echo in the artist’s own iconoclastic gestures. Mr Ai has covered Neolithic vases with synthetic paint and photographed himself dropping a 2000-year-old Han-dynasty urn. He has created sculptures using materials from demolished houses and temples. His work consistently draws attention to the destruction of China’s heritage, at once questioning and underscoring the value of…Continue reading