sunflower beginnings

should art be trampled on for the experience? the Turbine Hall has been filled by the installation of Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seed installation.  on aproach of the seeds the floor looks well groomed and in perfect order as it has been combed and straightened every evening.  however on opening of this exhibition the seeds were free to be walked on, the ceramic dust raised as the seeds crushed under foot and in turn the health and safety man closed the area down so that it could be viewed from the bridge but no longer experienced underfoot.

the outcome of such an installation is critical when it comes to how the viewer experiences it and we often class installations as work which is experienced rather than looked at which is maybe more of a sculpture. it seems a shame in this case when 1000’s of seeds have been hand crafted to be walked upon only to see it from a different angle which perhaps offers new meaning to the art piece.

the thing i enjoy about the turbine hall projects is the taking part, the transformation of the space to invite the audience to join in and experience it.  i am a little disappointed at the outcome of this show but if it looks good because of the enormity of it or the scale of carefully groomed seeds, i’ll be impressed.

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