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Ai Weiwei: Forever

Date uploaded: August 26, 2015

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is to unveil a large-scale artwork outside the Gherkin in the City of London, as part of a festival celebrating the area's architectural landmarks.

Details have been revealed of the new work for Sculpture in the City 2015 in the City of London. Constructed from hundreds of stainless steel bikes stacked and fused to create one giant sculpture, Forever has been produced in partnership with the Chinese artist’s forthcoming Royal Academy of Arts exhibition which opens on the 19th of September 2015.

The piece will be installed in front of 30 St Mary Axe – better known as The Gherkin – between the 4th and 13th of September, and will remain in place until May next year. The sculpture is part of the artist’s ongoing series exploring the Forever brand of bicycles that have been mass-manufactured in Shanghai, China since 1940. The work is designed to mirror the daily hustle of the City of London and its workday population of almost half a million people.

Ai said: “These are mostly objects that relate to my small world. For example, the Forever bicycles were a brand from when I was growing up. In our village there were no real roads and we always had to ride bikes to carry things.

“I thought they would be a good public sculpture because people relate to bikes. They’re designated for the body and operated with your body. There are few things today that are like that.”

Sculpture in the City is an initiative set up by the City of London Corporation and local businesses, and is aimed at enhancing public engagement with the city’s urban environment. Now in its fifth year, the latest edition also sees work placed at the Leadenhall Building (aka The Cheesegrater), and Richard Rogers’ Lloyd’s building.

Other artists exhibiting this year include: Ekkehard Altenburger, Sigalit Landau, Bruce Beasley, Adam Chodzko, Laura Ford and Damien Hirst. Previous contributors include: Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Lynn Chadwick and Jim Lambie.

For more information about Sculpture in the City click here.