Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles installed at Palazzo Franchetti in Venice
Venice Architecture Biennale 2014: a monumental installation of interconnected bicycle frames by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been installed in the riverside courtyard of Palazzo Franchetti in Venice.
As the latest edition of Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles series, the installation is a grouping of 1,179 stainless steel bicycle frames that together create modular layers of geometric shapes.
The name of the sculpture refers to the Forever cycle brand that has been mass-manufacturing bicycles in Shanghai since 1940. It is intended as a play on the concepts of assembling and copying in China – a theme that occurs in many of Ai's projects, from his installation of connected chairs at the 2008 biennale to the Sunflower Seeds project that covered the turbine hall of London's Tate Modern in 2010.
Ai was unable to install the sculpture himself, as he is currently being prevented by the Chinese government from leaving his home country, following his 2011 arrest for alleged economic crimes.
Genius Loci – Spirit of Place was organised by the Lisson Gallery, to tie in with the Venice Architecture Biennale. Ai is one of 19 artists featured in the show, alongside Anish Kapoor, Richard Long and Tokujin Yoshioka.