Ai Weiwei at Berlin’s Konzerthaus

The Wreckage


The Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has wrapped the six front columns of the Konzerthaus of Berlin with thousands of orange life vests salvaged from refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos in their massive and often tragic attempts to reach European shores. Coinciding with the concert hall’s Cinema for Peace Gala, the installation on the central Gendarmenmarkt square of the German capital, which seeks to stir people’s consciences while paying tribute to those fleeing the Syrian war, includes a lifeboat dangling vertically and in symmetry on the building’s facade, slightly set back from the line of the pillars – like a seventh column in the background – and with the text ‘#safe passage.’ This work of Ai Weiwei connects with the theme of his latest project, a workshop for Chinese and German students in Lesbos that tries to draw attention to the difficult situation of the asylum seekers and the serious humanitarian problems surrounding the migration crisis.

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