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Ai Weiwei: Law of the Journey

National Gallery in Prague – Veletržní Palace (Národní galerie v Praze – Veletržní palác), Dukelských hrdinů 47, Praha 7 - Holešovice, 170 00


17. 3. 2017 – 7. 1. 2018

"There’s no refugee crisis, but only human crisis… In dealing with refugees we’ve lost our very basic values" are words articulated by the contemporary artist Ai Weiwei in response to the current humanitarian disaster. Ai Weiwei (1957) is the China’s best-known contemporary artist who received international recognition thanks to his innovative and provocative works.

After having presented the set of sculptures, Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads in 2016, the National Gallery in Prague hosts the Law of the Journey, focusing on refugees. Himself a refugee, Ai has almost entirely focused his work on advocating the refugees’ human rights and documenting their tragic condition throughout the past two years. The humanitarian crisis has become especially dire since 2015 when the influx of refugees into Europe from Syria and elsewhere escalated dramatically. It is described as ‘a slaughterhouse, a complete meltdown of humanity, the apex of horror’. The exhibition Law of the Journey is Ai Weiwei’s multi-layered, epic statement on the human condition: an artist’s expression of empathy and moral concern in the face of continuous, uncontrolled destruction and carnage.

In the grand hall, there is a big inflatable boat with over life size figures of refugees accompanied by a big yellow ball in which the installation reflects. The artist thus showed his experience when he occurred on one of the refugee boats.

The exhibition is accompannied with his other works. Laundromat (2016) is a subversive portrait of dispossession and displacement. With Flowers (2013–2015) presents Weiwei’s specific attempt at a commemorative self-portrait in times of confinement. Snake Ceiling (2009) is devoted to the 5,000 plus school children who lost their lives during a massive earthquake in China’s Sichuan province in 2008.  Traveling Light (2007) is a reflection upon the past and its strength to project the future.

Admission fee:

  • full CZK 250
  • reduced CZK 150
  • family ticket CZK 400
  • scholl groups CZK 30
  • combined: full CZK 600, reduced CZK 350 (covers all exhibitions and expositions in Veletržní Palace)

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