Tate Modern Sunflower Seeds

Things to Do, What's New — By Erin Gallagher Maury on October 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm

On first glance the latest Unilever Series installment in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall is rather unremarkable. So much so, you may not even notice it. ¬†Peering over the ledge, I thought the museum was between exhibits. Although I heard a faint sound of what seemed like someone walking on pebbles.

Try 100,000,000 sunflower seeds.

On further inspection though, the sunflower seeds aren’t actually seeds, they are individually hand painted porcelain replicas. It took 1,600 people over two years to create the total amount required for renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s project.

Sunflower seeds are reminiscent of Ai’s childhood growing up during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1977) in China. Not only was the sharing of the popular street snack a symbol of friendship and kindness, but the Chinese people were often depicted as sunflowers turning towards the sun, Chairman Mao.¬†Provoking thought and discussion, the exhibit certainly generates a new perspective on ‘made in China’.

Sunflower Seeds is a tactile exhibit, walking on the seeds with or without shoes is encouraged, touch, listen and think.

12 October 2010 – 2 May 2011, free admission
Tate Modern

Ai Weiwei's 100,000,000 sunflower seeds

{Image courtesy of Tate Photography}

Tags: Ai Weiwei, art, London art museum, porcelain, sunflower seeds, Tate Modern, unilever