Ring W and Ring M, 2018
24kt yellow gold rings
2.48 x 2.88 x 1.65 cm; 2.72 x 3.04 x 1.86 cm
edition of 6 (per model)
After three years of intense artistic and social commitment, Ai Weiwei returns to create unique jewels with the purity of 24kt gold that can be worn by women and men.
The exclusive project, which includes two models of rings, realized in an edition of 6 pieces each, reflects the artist’s concern about the human condition, the awareness of what it means to be trapped, bound, and deprived of the freedom to travel and to determine one’s own existence. Inspired by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and the processing of gold in ancient Greece, the rings continue the artist’s research on human migration – as witnessed in the artist’s ground-breaking documentary ‘Human Flow’ (2017).
The wearable artworks are representative of Ai Weiwei’s sensitivity to the duality of human nature, with its capacity for nurture and kindness on one hand yet destruction and cruelty on the other. In the centre of the ring’s face, depictions of migrants’ stories unfold under a mysterious half-moon: by foot or by sea, some are portrayed travelling together and others alone. Ai Weiwei’s signature symbolism together with iconic images of contemporary society provide a dramatic context to their journeys. The strength of these jewels is in the elegance of the lines, in the purity of the details, and in their ability to emphasise with humanity.
The subject matter is further elevated by the artist’s use of the 24kt gold medium and his reference to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics – choices that create the jewels’ extraordinary beauty. The rings are a perfect synthesis of acute social awareness and exquisite artistic craftsmanship.