81 Questions (2024)
Editions of 81
500 x 500mm
Hand-Signed & Numbered
In 81 Questions, Ai Weiwei combines his affinity for readymades with his indefatigable activism in this new series of 81 hand-signed and embossed screen prints.
"Each Lego brick pixel represents a person", says Ai Weiwei, who incorporates the plastic construction toy - a readymade material incorporated into many of his most recent works - into his print design for the first time. The black egalitarian pixel font and embossed baseplate combine technology with artisanal craft to create this thought-provoking and playful reflection on today's world.
Each print in the series of 81 Questions is hand-signed and numbered by the artist in editions of 81. Collect yours today using the drop-down menu below.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The 81 Questions print series marks the opening of the CIRCA 20:24 exhibition Ai vs AI, an 81-day quest for enlightenment by world-leading artist Ai Weiwei.
Over a period of 81 days – the length of time Ai spent detained in a Chinese prison – the artist will pose 81 questions addressed to artificial intelligence (AI) and the wider public. Appearing every evening at 20:24 (local time) on Piccadilly Lights, each question carefully considers the role of humankinds’ minds and actions in a fast-changing world, amid accelerating global crises and the rise of new technologies. “This is not about freedom of speech. This is about freedom of questions,” says Ai Weiwei. “Everybody has the right to ask questions.”
The project takes inspiration from the Tiānwèn (天問, translated as ‘The Heavenly Questions’ or ‘Questions to Heaven’), a set of 172 questions to the gods written on the walls of a temple some 2,300 years ago by the legendary poet Qu Yuan. At the same time, it explores the coincidence that this commission will last for 81 days (11 January - 31 March 2024), the same duration that Ai spent imprisoned by the Chinese Communist Party. During 81 days in prison, Ai Weiwei was subjected to continuous interrogation by an authority that wielded its absolute power through mass manipulation of information: an unequal right to ask questions and have them answered.
These 81 Questions will open a public forum for continuous acts of questioning, while seeking answers – from himself (Ai) as well as artificial intelligence (AI) to generate a portrait of the world today. Discover more here.
SUPPORT THE #CIRCAECONOMY
Proceeds from each print help support the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model designed to fund the CIRCA free public art programme and create life-changing opportunities for the creative community. Since its launch in October 2020 on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights, CIRCA has distributed over £600,000 in cash grants, scholarships, and donations. Discover more here.
Although we endeavour to deliver the prints as soon as possible, please note that your prints may take up to 3 months to arrive in the post due to the embossing and signing process involved. Each print is hand-wrapped in tissue paper, safely packaged in heavy-duty cardboard and delivered with a tracking number. This is reflected in the shipping fee at checkout.
VAT is calculated in your cart's checkout section and depends on the shipping destination. If your order is below 150€, then we will collect import duties for the EU at checkout. If it is over 150€ or your delivery address is not within the UK or EU, you may be subject to import duties, taxes, and delivery service charges, which are levied once a shipment reaches your country. You must bear any such additional charges for customs clearance.
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY (COA)
Each print in the series of 81 Questions is hand-signed and numbered by the artist in editions of 81. Each print includes a numbered, stamped and dated Certificate of Authenticity. We recommend having the COA safely stored inside an archival wallet and attached to the reverse side of your artwork by a professional framer.
ABOUT AI WEIWEI
A global citizen, artist and thinker, Ai Weiwei moves between modes of production and investigation, subject to the direction and outcome of his research, whether into the Chinese earthquake of 2008 (for works such as Straight, 2008-12 and Remembering, 2009) or the worldwide plight of refugees and forced migrants (for Law of the Journey and his feature-length documentary, Human Flow, both 2017). He is one of the leading cultural figures of his generation and serves as an example for free expression both in China and internationally.
CIRCA is an art and culture platform with purpose. We stop the clock on global media spaces every evening at 20:24 local time, mobilising the world’s greatest creative minds to broadcast unique works of art that consider our world, circa now. Previous CIRCA-commissioned artists include Patti Smith, Tony Cokes, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, David Hockney, Anne Imhof and more. Discover more here.