Art in The 21st Century: Change
Art in The 21st Century: Change

Art in The 21st Century: Change

Illuminations Media

Change features the works of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, American photographer Catherine Opie, and Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui in a look at how these artists represent themes of change.  

The episode follows Catherine Opie during photo shoots of scenery and people while she explains how photography can capture the passage and pause of time. As time changes, Opie uses photography as a way to document it while offering an escape from the present. Opie explains how a photograph can cause a change in the viewer’s emotional state.

El Anatsui describes the global conflicts and economic downturns that influenced his flexible and multi-material artwork. Anatsui’s work, which is never presented the same way twice, engenders his notion that everything is always evolving and changing.

Ai Weiwei’s associates speak on his behalf about Weiwei’s controversial art. His art evokes the need for political change: for example, his display of backpacks representing the students killed in an earthquake makes a statement about the Sichuan school scandal. Weiwei explains in an interview how his art engenders change by displaying “useless” items fulfilling a different given purpose.

Change offers a look into how these artists chronicle, criticize, and react to the changes that they observe through their art.   

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