'Rapture', a major exhibition by Ai Weiwei, opens at Cordoaria Nacional in Lisbon
4 June 2021
The Cordoaria Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal, has opened a major presentation of the first exhibition in Portugal by Ai Weiwei. 'Rapture', curated by Marcello Dantas, is the artist's largest show to date, and presents around 80 works. These include some of the artist's most iconic works, as well as original pieces produced in Portugal that explore the country's traditional artisanal techniques.
The themes running throughout the exhibition derive from the various meanings in English for the word 'rapture': a transcendent moment connecting the bodily and the spiritual dimensions; the hijacking of someone’s rights and freedoms; and the connection between sensory enthusiasm and ecstasy. 'Rapture' therefore unfolds in two sections exploring the ideas of fantasy and reality.
The exhibition opens with one of Ai's most monumental works, the Forever Bicycles (2021) installation made up of over 900 identical stainless steel bicycles. Among the historical works on show are Snake Ceiling (2009), Circle of Animals (2010) and Law of the Journey (Prototype C) (2016), which consists of a 16 metre-long inflatable boat filled with human figures, referring to one of the most recurring themes in Ai’s practice: the global refugee crisis.
The exhibition is on view through 28 November 2021.
Images © Ai Weiwei, courtesy Cordoaria Nacional. Photo by Luís Ramos.