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Ai Jing Returns: art exhibition I Love Ai Jing

By Xu Ming (Global Times)

10:15, November 27, 2012

A dancer is performing at I Love Ai Jing exhibition on Saturday (GT/Xu Ming)

For people who listened to the song "My 1997" from the 1990s, the name "Ai Jing" is like a remote marker from their childhood or youth buried deeply in their memory. The once popular avant-garde ballad singer has been out of public sight for almost 10 years.
But the long-time dreariness was not for nothing. For Ai, it was like seeking nirvana or the rise of a phoenix and rewarded her with a better way to demonstrate her talent. But this time, it's not about music.

On November 19, the National Museum of China kicked off an art exhibition called I Love Ai Jing. It includes nearly 200 pieces of her works created in the past 10 years and covers paintings, sculptures, installations, video works and more. For her music fans, it is a good chance to know the different dimensions of Ai; those just getting to know her can learn about her achievements in music.

All about love

When asked by Global Times about the main feature of her work, Ai Jing simply said, "Love."

It's almost self-evident. The word "love" is at the tip of everyone's tongue, but probably only through Ai's works can you realize that it has such varied expressions. The English word runs through the whole exhibition, knitted in colorful tapestry, painted on different sizes of canvas, and engraved in heavy metal.

Since her first exhibition in 2008 in Beijing, Ai has been creating works with love as the theme. The show this time focuses on her love for the homeland and her hometown after traveling around the world for years.

The various forms of contemporary art, Ai tried her best to exploit the centuries-old common emotion of humanity. She shows her love for mothers through the work "My Mom and My Hometown," which consists of a six-meter wide and 16-meter long tapestry full of the word "love" and a knitting sculpture based on the image of her mother.

The tapestry was knitted by over 50 people in all, including Ai's mother, her relatives, friends and neighbors from Shenyang, Liaoning Province. The knitting yarns are from cast sweaters and underpants. The work, which reflects geographical features of the north of China, shows Ai's deep feelings for her hometown.

Ai also shows her concern and love for the environment, for peace, and for life generally. In a painting named "Gun and Roses," she wrote line after line of the word "love" to cover French photographer Marc Riboud's "The Flower and the Bayonet" taken in 1967 in a Washington peace march against the Vietnam war.

"I want to dialogue with history through works," Ai told Global Times, "It is about a historical event, similar to my song 'My 1997.'"

She also explores the depth of Chinese culture. Inspired by Chinese tea culture, she made 64 black and white chessmen of red copper for the installation "Pieces." Clothed by metal and modernization, the essence of Oriental culture they represent can endow the audience with the coolness of Buddhism, she said.

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