'Teahouse, 2009' is an iconic work by the most famous Chinese conceptual artist working today, Ai Weiwei (born in 1957 in Beijing). From 5 February 2011, the work will be on display in one of the museum's main rooms, after being presented as a permanent loan from Dieter and Si Rosenkranz.
A total of 180 x 120 x 180 cm in size, the teahouse is composed of 378 cubes and 54 prisms of compressed pu'er tea and is surrounded by a 'lawn' of scattered tea leaves. The teahouse couples outward purity of form with an imposing physical presence that is heightened by the smell the material emits. As a result, it exudes an aura of sensual lyricism as well as providing conceptual inspiration for the viewer.
Installed in the throne room of the East Asian art collection, the teahouse corresponds with the surrounding objects on show from Chinese literary culture, as well as artworks that document both the illustrious era of Imperial China and the exchange between east and west, thereby provoking a wide range of associations. The presentation of this new artwork in such a context perfectly conforms to the museum's aims to shed new light on its collection through interventions by contemporary artworks that encourage a dialogue between tradition and modernity.
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