Review Round Up: Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, Design Museum

We take a look at what is being said about this new exhibition at the Design Museum.

The Observer: “Taken as whole, the show is about making, by hand and machine. It is about creation and destruction, about the humanity and persistence of stuff. It is partly elegiac, paying tribute to the skills and memories that large-scale industrialised construction projects (which are depicted by photographs on the walls) threaten to destroy, but it is also affirmative.”

The Upcoming: **** “The diverse components of Making Sense may seem somewhat disordered, embodying a mixture of ideas and concerns, but in their totality they imbue one with an unexpected sense of serenity: a result of their peculiarly meditative quality and undeniable beauty. This calming ambiance permeates the space, inspiring deep reflections on a lost past and our endeavours – potentially fruitless – to piece it back together.”

The Independent: **** “While this show reflects on the disruption and destruction wreaked by the tides of culture and politics, its effect is oddly soothing. Ai’s installations have a timeless abstract beauty. For all their sinister connotations, his fields of objects, whether whole or shattered fragments, have a meditative quality that recalls the gardens seen around Chinese temples. They invite us to contemplate the passage of time and the larger purpose of human endeavour. There’s a reassuring sense that humanity’s instincts for order and beauty will endure long beyond the existence of mere things.”

iNews: *** “Wondrous at times, but more often self-absorbed and messy, an artist’s mind is emphatically not a good model for an exhibition, and though the removal of walls at the Design Museum has opened up an impressive, swimming-pool sized area, it does nothing to dispel the impression of a chaotically disordered space. A cacophony of ideas and objects compete for our attention, some old, some new, but none of them really given the space they need to make sense, as the show’s title, Making Sense, rather hopefully suggests. Instead, we are witness to the artist in the process of making sense: inevitably, some things would have been better off had they remained as thoughts inside his head.”

Culture Whisper: ***** “This is why we admire Ai Weiwei so much: he takes the playful and makes it political, confronts us with the systems and horrors that are hidden from us and provokes us to question our assumptions of the world around us. It’s what makes him such a political powerhouse of conceptual art.”

City Am: “With dozens of new works from one of the most exciting artists working today, Ai Weiwei: Making Sense represents one hell of a coup for the Design Museum.”

The exhibition is on display at the Design Museum until the 30th July 2023.

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