One of our favorite artists and provocateurs, Ai Weiwei, has left his mark on a Parisian department store with a new exhibition titled ‘Er Xi,’ or ‘Child’s Play.’ Giant bamboo and paper structures now decorate Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, characters culled from Chinese folklore and crafted according to ancient bamboo kite-making tradition.
The exhibition is Ai Weiwei’s way of injecting art into the everyday, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in the way that a child experiences the world. Weiwei explains:
“Showing at Le Bon Marché is using a new medium, the department store, to encounter a new audience as broad as a museum’s. Introducing the fantastic idea within a retail space strikes the imagination of customers, visitors and passersby. We all lead parallel lives in this other world of dreams, fantasies and fears. We must learn to coexist with them, as they are an integral part of our humanity; to embrace our mythology. Children know how to do this naturally. This exhibition speaks to our inner child.”