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Ai Weiwei Toys With Somewhat Unflattering Features Debut at Art Stage Singapore

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Among the more unusual offerings at this year’s Art Stage Singapore fair, which opens today and continues through Sunday, is a series of works on which Hong Kong-based toy designer Eric So collaborated with Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The very red and very, um, rounded figures depict the Chinese artist nude, in reference to his ongoing nude studio portrait series, with his distinctively disheveled hair exaggerated into flame-like spikes.

The Ai-So collaborations are made of fiberglass and titled “Aibudao,” which reads something like the Chinese word for “unlovable,” and on view at the Singapore Museum of Art and Design’s booth, C2-02.

This doesn’t mark the first time Ai Weiwei has been turned into an action figure of sorts. For his exhibition “The Art Army Royalty” at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in 2011, Michael Leavitt created a similarly nude and poorly coiffed, but markedly slimmer version of the famous artist with a cell phone instead of a penis, presumably in reference to his use of social media as tools for empowerment.


— Benjamin Sutton

(Top photo by Jeffrey Koh via TOYSREVIL; Second image courtesy the artist, Jonathan LeVine Gallery.)

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