Ai Weiwei: The Silk Scarf 'Haircut'
Coupling impeccable crafting and beautiful storytelling, Ai Weiwei's scarves are wearable works of art that look as well luxuriously draped over your outfit as hanging in a frame. Ai’s design for this blue scarf is based on his papercut Haircut, reflecting on his participation in documenta XII in Kassel 2007, when he made it possible for 1,001 Chinese compatriots to travel to the German city, many of them leaving their home country for the first time. Published by TASCHEN in 2019 as part of his signed and limited Papercut Portfolio, the medium speaks to Ai’s use of traditional craftsmanship in his art, which is twofold here: as the craft of the Chinese papercut goes back 2000 years, silk weaving was invented even 5000 years ago, remaining a purely Chinese craft for many millennia. Made of high-quality Chinese twill silk, a material renowned for its particularly fine texture, woven and screen-printed by hand, and finished with hand-rolled edges.
About the motif: Ai reflects on his work for the 2007 documenta in Kassel, where he afforded a journey to the German city to 1,001 Chinese compatriots who had never left their country before. Selecting people from every walk of life, Ai designed their clothes, suitcases, and—as depicted in this papercut—also cut their hair. The participants were free to do as they wished as long as they did not leave the city, acting both as spectators and part of an artwork. Also featured is the monumental outdoors installation Template, constructed from Ming and Qing Dynasty wooden doors and windows salvaged from old demolished buildings. After only a few days, the work collapsed in a thunderstorm. “It was not prepared for the German weather and wind,” Ai commented. “When I saw how the site had collapsed—not totally, it turned into some other shape—I thought it is now really like a ruin. It comes from ruins and now it’s really a ruin.”
Limited edition of 2,500 copies
Ai Weiwei's work is internationally known and he has been detained and imprisoned by China's secret police for what many believe is his activism. LACMA's permanent collection includes one sculpture by Ai.
- 100% silk, handwoven and hand-silkscreened, finished with hand-rolled edges
- 35.4 x 35.4 inches
- Wrapped in tissue paper and packages in cardboard box, 10 x 10 inches
- Blue and White Scarf