Behind every earthquake disaster is poor planning and corruption where subpar solutions were used, exposing an unsuspecting public to mortal danger.
A video called “Straight” (2015) is shown next to a vast installation of the same name, which is made of rebar, the metal rods that internally support concrete buildings. Recycling for Ai is a political act. After the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Ai illegally salvaged the chewed and mangled rods. In a blacksmiths’ marathon he had each piece straightened by hand and the results laid out in seismic layers as a vast floor piece. It is sombre and staggering in scale and its great rusting slide might situate it as a minimalist work or a reference to land art.
The video comes at the earthquake from a different angle. It documents the ghastly local backstory: a natural disaster, mass deaths, widespread corruption in the construction industry, buildings made from junk concrete.
Above quote from here.
Ai Weiwei Royal Academy, London, until December 13th.