AI WEIWEI: SOLEIL LEVANT
Installation on the facade towards Nyhavn.
The opening of Ai Weiwei’s (b. 1957 in Beijing, China) new installation, produced specifically for Kunsthal Charlottenborg and Copenhagen, will take place on United Nations International Refugee Day (June 20 2017). Named Soleil Levant, the installation barricades the windows of Kunsthal Charlottenborg with more than 3500 salvaged life jackets collected from refugees arriving at the Greek Island of Lesbos.
Focus on the humanitarian crisis
With this installation, Ai Weiwei hopes to bring focus to the refugee crisis currently taking place across Europe. According to UNHCR, 1,377,349 individuals arrived in Europe via sea in 2015 and 2016. In the same period, over 8000 individuals have died or disappeared attempting this journey. It is the wide-spread humanitarian crisis, which Ai Weiwei aims to bring focus on.
The name of the work stems from Claude Monet’s painting Impression, Soleil Levant from 1872, which depicts the harbour in Le Havre at the end of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war. Whereas Monet’s landscape painting captures the political and social reality of its time with its cranes, steamboats and industrialisation, Ai Weiwei’s Soleil Levant draws attention to the political and social reality of today through refugee lifejackets.