Renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has teamed up with German DIY store chain HORNBACH and creative agencies HEIMAT Berlin and NEUTRAL Zurich to present ‘Safety Jackets Zipped The Other Way’, a work of art that you can build yourself – with instructions and materials from HORNBACH, of course.
With the artwork Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way, Ai Weiwei and HORNBACH aim to democratize art by making it accessible for everybody, with the only costs being for the materials. “We immediately loved the idea that anyone can own an original Ai Weiwei by means of their craftsmanship. This is a completely new type of project for our customers and fans,” explains Karsten Kühn, member of the Board of Management of HORNBACH Baumarkt AG.
This work of art belongs to anybody who wants to build it. “Everybody can be an artist or has the opportunity or ability to make art,” states Ai Weiwei. A central motif in Ai Weiwei’s work is the concept of the readymade – an industrially manufactured object is redefined by the artist as a work of art. The piece consists of high-visibility safety jackets joined together by means of their zips. Removed from their original function, they merge into a shapeless soft sculpture. The assembled readymade Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way transforms realities and triggers unexpected perceptions.
The project is accompanied by a comprehensive publication, which includes not only the building instructions but also a classification of how Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way fits into the artistic practice of Ai Weiwei. It also includes a certificate of authenticity and an interview the art critic and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist conducted with Ai Weiwei about the project.
The publication will be available in the HORNBACH online shop for EUR 18.00 (about $20 USD). The building instructions can be downloaded free of charge from hornbach.de/aiweiwei/en.