Ai Weiwei is a major figure of the international art scene. This catalogue of his exhibition at the Mucem in Marseille, the largest gathering of his work ever assembled in France, presents an artistic, autobiographical, cultural, historical and political journey.
Fan-Tan weaves together several stories that reflect the multiplicity of meanings of the artist’s works. It presents fifty works, including two specially created for the city of Marseille and for the Mucem. It reproduces poems about Marseille by the artist’s father, the poet Ai Qing, who sojourned in the city during the last century. It explores Franco-Chinese relations from the nineteenth century to today, with its cover bearing an image of fan-tan, a tank offered by the Chinese to the Allies during the first world war.
Richly illustrated, Fan-Tan also traces the evolution of Ai Weiwei’s work, from the ready-mades of his youth in New York to recent installations and a film about the “jungle” of Calais in northern France. These works are put into dialogue with a selection of objects from the Mucem collection.
Several interviews shine a light on an artist who, several decades after his father, writes in his turn a chapter in the story of Marseille.
This catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition Ai Weiwei Fan-Tan, which showed at the Mucem from 20 June to 12 November 2018.