Ai Weiwei: 100 Million Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei today unveiled his latest work: 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Visitors are invited to walk on, touch and listen to the seeds.

Each seed has been individually made by craftspeople in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen, which is famed for its production of Imperial porcelain.  “It looks simple but it takes some skill to make,” explained Weiwei.

Sunflower seeds have a special significance for the artist, who remembers the sharing of seeds as a gesture of friendship during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).

You can record a video message for Weiwei in a booth beside the installation. The videos will be published on the Tate Modern website, and the artist will respond to one each week. You can also join the conversation via Twitter, where Weiwei will reply to tweets with the hashtag #tateaww.

The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei is at Tate Modern until 2 May 2011. Entry is free

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  1. Is this really art, or is it just me? I suppose I better get myself along and find out for myself…

  2. Alex Bath says:

    I thought the exhibition was really interesting, so many people engaging with it.

    I made a video of it, at alexbath.com go have a look if you like!

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Alex. Great video! It’s nice to see people enjoying the seeds. Tate Modern looks a bit like an indoor beach.

  3. Hannah says:

    Update from Tate Modern on 15 October 2010:

    “Although porcelain is very robust, we have been advised that the interaction of visitors with the sculpture can cause dust which could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time.

    “In consequence, Tate, in consultation with the artist, has decided not to allow members of the public to walk across the sculpture.”

  4. Molly says:

    Such a shame that it now has been closed to the public – I was one of the lucky ones to ‘Walk on the Weiwei” : http://wp.me/p15T3h-3n

    Very moving and thought-provoking piece of work, but its closure also adds an extra dimension to its meaning and significance. Just a pity that no more visitors will get to interact in a more playful way with it.

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