ai weiwei: stacked - an installation of 760 bikes ai weiwei: stacked - an installation of 760 bikes
jan 11, 2013

ai weiwei: stacked - an installation of 760 bikes


galleria continua presents the first solo show by ai weiwei within its san gimignano gallery space. comprised of the chinese contemporary artist’s sculptures, video and photographic works, the exhibition emphasizes his indifference to his chinese culture and traditions, displaying his ability to project himself into modernity, within an unflagging social and political awareness. 

hundreds of bikes are systematically stacked by ai weiwei all images © the artist, courtesy of galleria continua



one of the most outstanding pieces displayed is a walk-around installation composed of 760 bicycles, presented on the main stage of the gallery. a continuation of the controversial creative’s 2008 work ‘very yao’, ‘stacked’ brings to light the principal means of transportation in his native country. the two-wheelers he has employed in this work are all produced by ‘forever’ (yong jiu pai), china’s most common bicycle brand. as one experiences the hundreds of systematically arranged bikes, ai weiwei’s exploration of mass manufacturing becomes evident, the chain and sprocket mechanisms in a way depictions of the matrix of people which makes up the labour force. the piece can be interpreted as an activation of a process of abstraction, as a whole, seen as a metaphor of the fabrication of china. the self-titled exhibition is on show until february 16th, 2013.


worm’s-eye view






the artist has employed 760 bikes produced by ‘forever’, china’s most common bicycle brand


the work addresses themes revolving around mass manufacturing and human labour




visitors are invited to walk within the work and experience it from all angles 

‘stacked’ is installed on the gallery’s stage elevated above the rest of the exhibition space




ai weiwei‘very yao’, dimensions variable, 2008


the artist uses the bike as his medium for its symbolism in his native country of china


  • What I hate most about contemporary art like this is-
    it steals an image from real life -a shipyard, a production line, a bicycle workshop- and recreates it as ‘art’.
    The original was ART, the true environment that these bikes were manufactured in, this is a sterilised copy, and all the poorer for it. A sanitised version for the chattering classes.

    We should celebrate these real, fantastic factories and workshops, maybe get more creative people into manufacturing that way.

    mackenzie collins says:
  • How many pics of wheels do you need???

    SJS says:
  • If by moving a wheel…the others could move…then that would be awesome!!!

    santo cereixo says:
  • You’re a bit late on this story –

    Daniel Turnbull says:
  • This is weirdly exciting,because I suppose you expect them to come crashing down at any moment,imagine the amount of nervous energy he had doing this – Surreal.

    Jolieme says:
  • Wouldn’t want to be in charge of dusting that display after a couple years!!!

    Bryan says:

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