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The Wick - Al-Wei-Wei  © Credit Francesco Allegretto

Discover Ai Weiwei, La Commedia Umana 

Memento Mori, 2022

In August 2022 Ai Weiwei unveiled his first-ever body of work in glass for a new solo show at the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The centrepiece of the exhibition, which explores themes of spirituality, freedom, life and death, is La Commedia Umana, a monumental chandelier featuring over 2,000 pieces of black glass made in collaboration with craftsmen in the Berengo Studio in Murano.

A closer look at the twisted hanging sculpture, measuring more than six metres wide and almost nine metres high, reveals a cascade of bones, organs, skulls and surveillance cameras — a poignant plea for us to fight for our freedom before we die. When sunbeams fall from the church’s windows, it casts angular, eerie shadows around the space. ‘It is a work that stirs emotions, that forces us to come to terms not only with our own mortality, but with the part our lives have to play in the greater theatre of human history,’ says Adriano Berengo, Founder of Berengo Studio. Catch it in Venice until 27 November.

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© The Estate of Alice Neel
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