The Royal Academy of Artists in London is gearing up for an ambitious show of work by the legendary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The museum is planning the largest retrospective of his work ever to take place in Britain, but it needs your help to organize the centerpiece of the exhibit: eight enormous tree-sculptures that will reign over the RA’s central courtyard.
Weiwei’s Trees project began in 2009, but this iteration will be the grandest one yet. The sculptures are made up of pieces of dead trees, arranged together to represent the artist’s vision of an idealized tree. The branches are culled from the mountains of southern China and assembled in Weiwei’s Beijing studio by a team of craftsmen. It has been surmised that the trees represent the way distinct cultural groups have been unified into “One China,” which seems a rather sunny interpretation for an artist known for his provocative work, often critical of the Chinese state.
The RA has turned to Kickstarter to help fund this massive project, seeking £100,000 from supporters across the globe. The page claims they’ll go ahead with the installation if they don’t meet the goal, but rewards for supporters really run the gamut. For pledging £5 or more you get a wink from Ai Weiwei’s cat, Garfield (presumably a gif they send to your email?). For those who want to shell out the big bucks can look forward to having their name featured prominently at the exhibit and hobnobbing with London’s elite at the opening reception.
To become a supporter of bringing Ai Weiwei’s Trees to the Royal Academy, click here.