Avant Arte has announced a new collaboration with celebrated contemporary artist Ai Weiwei to make his work available to all. This exciting new collaboration is launched to mark Ai Weiwei’s first ever design-focussed exhibition which opens at the Design Museum next month. The money raised from this partnership will go towards supporting the Design Museum’s future work, helping it to carry out its mission to champion design and designers, and to make the impact of design visible to all.
A new public artwork that makes Ai’s Middle Finger available to all on avantarte.com, Ai Weiwei will launch, Middle Finger, a new public artwork that makes his emblematic gesture of his arm outstretched and middle finger raised available to all, inviting everyone to create their own take on his seminal series – Study of Perspective.
I think often we forget we have the middle finger. Or, even when we know we have the middle finger, we are misusing it. So, I think it’s a good idea to see that part of your body can point to something, or an institution, or someone who resembles power, and just to let them know and to let yourself know that you exist, and to be yourself for that moment is very crucial.Ai Weiwei
Begun in 1995, Study of Perspective is a series of photographs taken by Weiwei that show him giving the middle finger to bastions of power worldwide from Tiananmen Sq and The White House to the Eiffel Tower and Trump Tower. The work demonstrates the force of a simple gesture and taps into themes around power, censorship and freedom of expression central to Weiwei’s practice.
Middle Finger will enable participants to navigate the globe on Avantarte.com, select and add a location of their choice to be included in the work or to download high-resolution copies of Weiwei’s outstretched arm to use as they see fit. The archive of images will be on display on avantarte.com and people are invited to use #studyofperspective when sharing on social media.
24-hr limited edition silkscreen print to support the work of the Design Museum
As part of their partnership, Ai Weiwei and Avant Arte will also collaborate on a series of limited editions, the proceeds of which will go to the Design Museum. On 30th March, they will release a time-limited edition of silkscreen prints, Middle Finger in Red, that will be available to all for 24 hours only. Based on Ai’s recent exploration of Study in Perspective, Middle Finger in Red forms part of a new series of work, alongside the public artwork, this time reinterpreted through Ai’s drawing of his own arm, middle finger and profile.
We are delighted to be partnering with Avant Arte for the very first time. Not only will this exciting project bring the work of Ai Weiwei to even more people around the world, but it will also help to support the future of the museum. The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum of contemporary design, but we are also a charity, and so we rely on a range of income streams and philanthropy. In a challenging economic climate, high-impact fundraising opportunities like this are more valuable than ever.Tim Marlow, CEO and Director, Design Museum,
Middle Finger in Red will be available to all for 24 hours only from 15:00 BST on 30th March on avantarte.com. It will be released as part of Avant Arte’s time-limited edition series that aims to help people start collecting high-quality art by today’s leading contemporary artists. The silkscreen print will be made by master printmakers, measure 60cm x 60cm, be signed by Weiwei and cost €410.00 (approx. £365.00/ $440.00) with free shipping. 65% of all profits will be donated to the Design Museum.
Avant Arte was founded on the belief that access to art can transform our perspectives and enrich our lives but that its potential is much greater than its impact today. And so our programme of partnering with institutions who ensure public access to art is an incredibly important part of our mission. We’re very excited to be working with the Design Museum and Ai Weiwei on this multifaceted project – the creation of a new public artwork that invites people across the world to participate in one of Weiwei’s most iconic works, as well as a series of exceptional editions released across the course of his Design Museum exhibition. This series has been designed to enable a new generation of collectors to own an Ai Weiwei piece at the same time as supporting a vital public institution enabling access to contemporary design.
Mazdak Sanii, Co-founder and CEO, Avant Arte,
Ai Weiwei: Making Sense will be the artist’s very first exhibition to focus on design and architecture, and will be his biggest UK show in eight years. It opens at the Design Museum on 7 April and runs until 30 July 2023. The exhibition will feature works never shown before in the UK, as well as major new pieces
displayed for the very first time. At the heart of the exhibition will be a series of major site-specific installations comprising of hundreds of thousands of objects collected by Ai Weiwei. In this major exhibition, Ai uses design and the history of making as a lens through which to consider what we value.
Further limited editions to be released during the exhibition In addition to the time-limited edition of Middle Finger in Red, Avant Arte and Ai Weiwei will collaborate on four further limited editions of new works that will span prints and sculpture. These editions will be released over the course of the exhibition at the Design Museum. All editions will be available on Avantarte.com and 65% of all profits from the sale of all artworks will be donated to the Design Museum.
About the artist
Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China) leads a diverse and prolific practice that encompasses sculptural installation, filmmaking, photography, ceramics, painting, writing and social media. A conceptual artist who fuses traditional craftsmanship and his Chinese heritage, Ai Weiwei moves freely between a variety of formal languages to reflect on the contemporary geopolitical and sociopolitical condition. Ai Weiwei’s work and life regularly interact and inform one another, often extending to his activism and advocacy for international human rights.
Ai Weiwei has exhibited extensively at institutions and biennials worldwide, including at Albertina Modern, Vienna (2022); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2021); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf (2019); Oca – Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo (2018); Public Art Fund, New York (2017); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2017); Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2016); Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2016); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2015); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2015); Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2014); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2014); German Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale,
Venice (2013); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (2012); Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei (2011); Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London (2010); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2009); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2009); documenta 12, Kassel (2007); and Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (2004). The artist’s memoir 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows was published in 2021. Ai Weiwei lives and works in Beijing (China), Berlin (Germany), Cambridge (UK) and Lisbon (Portugal).