28 January 2012
The sunflower, with its destiny to follow the sun, became a common metaphor for The People during China’s Cultural Revolution. At the same time, the seeds of the flower provided sustenance at all levels of society, and the ubiquitous discarded husks provided evidence of an individual’s existence. Ai Weiwei demonstrates that a staggering quantity of individual seeds may produce a deceptively unified field. The work is a commentary on social, political and economic issues pertinent to contemporary China: the role of the individual versus the masses, and China’s long history of labor-intensive production and export.