Ai Weiwei wanted to create works that bridged both Chinese and Brazilian cultural contexts. Trees were of particular interest in Ai Weiwei’s research in Brazil. At an artists’ studio in Trancoso, Bahia, Ai discovered the native Brazilian roots and trunks that would be used to compose Seven Roots. The tree parts were the remnants of deforestation and natural causes.The artist directed a team of Chinese and Brazilian craftsmen in creating Seven Roots, each of the new works assembled from two or three different roots. The Chinese woodworking technique used to assemble the Seven Roots bring to mind Ai’s earlier work Tree (2009) in which disparate segments of felled trees were joined together to create entirely original forms. Seven Roots exemplifies the importance of the ready-made in Ai’s practice. Ai has once said, “My work is always readymade. It could be cultural, political, or social, and also it could be art–to make people re-look at what we have done, its original position, to create new possibilities. I always want people to be confused, to be shocked or realize something later.” Each of the seven roots has a distinct name: Strength, Palace, Fly, Mr. Painting, Martin, Level, and Party. The last two are part of this exhibition.


  • Title: Seven Roots (Martin)
  • Creator: Ai Weiwei
  • Date Created: 2018
  • Rights: Courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio
  • Medium: Wood

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