Ai Weiwei is causing a stir once again. This time his project involves 14 outfits from 14 different designers, left over paint, a custom built pedestal, his friends, a camera and a rebellious streak. Asked by V magazine to be involved in this special collaborative series in conjunction with Comme des Garçons, Weiwei was sent a box of the designers one-off creations and was allowed free reign to create an editorial campaign for the magazine. He proceeded to dowse his friends and colleagues wearing the clothes with the paint he had accumulated from his earlier 2006/2008 Colored Vases project.
Following his anarchic philosophy and approach to art, Weiwei throws colors all over the delicate and expensive outfits with abandon, just like he did in his vase series. He continues to destroy the hierarchies we have come to accept (this time those of the fashion world, and how to represent clothing as a commodity). Not one to stick to the rules or to adhere to people’s expectations, Weiwei arguably destroys the original craftsmanship of these outfits – many of which took large teams of skilled tailors days to finish. The results have had mixed reviews. One of the designers, Shaun Samson (who had lilac paint splashed all over his plaid ensemble) shares his thoughts:
I don’t know if it’s sad or positive that he decided to do the project this way, but the outcome is beautiful. (Source)
Some may say Weiwei has destroyed others’ works of art, but the controversial artist sees it very differently:
Pouring a color on an outfit creates a new condition for the design. It creates a midpoint between two conflicting ideas. Gravity and the shape of the clothes combine to create a unique moment. Using these cultural products as ready-mades celebrates and reinterprets the intention of creativity. I think this act shows my respect toward their creativity. (Source)