Lisson Gallery

Ai Weiwei’s La Commedia Umana, a tribute to ‘ultimate freedom’ - The Financial Times

2 September 2022

Framed by two winged figures that crown the organ, the vast sculpture is shot through by sunbeams falling from the windows of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. Where the rays hit, the nine-metre work leaps into sinister glory.

Described as a “chandelier”, though it casts no light, the work is the centrepiece of a new solo show in the church by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Entitled “La Commedia Umana”, it has been assembled from more than 2,000 pieces of black Murano glass fashioned to replicate bones, organs and surveillance cameras. The result is a hypnotic, hanging ossuary that begs us to fight for our freedom before we die.

When Ai and I sit down to chat in his glamorous San Marco hotel, he tells me the sculpture marks his ambition to “understand death, celebrate death” because “it’s part of life’s journey. Life and death can never be separate, otherwise they have no meaning. Now with this war in Europe and the environmental change, there will be more human casualties.”

Read the full feature by Rachel Spence in The Financial Times here.

La Commedia Umana - Memento Mori is on view on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore through 27 November.

Find further information via Berengo Studio.

Ai Weiwei’s La Commedia Umana, a tribute to ‘ultimate freedom’ - The Financial Times
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