Saturday 3 December 2016

'Sunflower seed' carpet for gallery

Published 11/10/2010 | 12:49

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with his work Sunflower Seeds
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with his work Sunflower Seeds
Visitors walk through the art installation Sunflower Seeds
Children play on top of the Sunflower Seeds installation at the Tate Modern

A vast floor within Tate Modern has been carpeted with more than 100 million 'sunflower seeds' - the latest commission in the annual Unilever Series.

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Visitors will be able to walk on and touch the seeds - the brainchild of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei - which are in fact made of porcelain.

Each imitation seed husk was individually handcrafted by skilled artisans and now covers 1,000 square metres of the London gallery's Turbine Hall.

The ceramic seeds were moulded, fired at soaring temperatures, hand-painted and then fired again over the course of two years.

Sunflower seeds are a popular Chinese street snack but also hold another meaning for the artist, a political dissident in China.

During the Cultural Revolution, propaganda images showed Chairman Mao as the sun and the mass of people as sunflowers turning towards him.

The Unilever Series was launched in 2000 and has included Doris Salcedo's split of the floor of Tate Modern, Carsten Holler's spiralling slides and the popular Weather Project.

Press Association

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