Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
, by the artist Ai Weiwei has circled back to LACMA, Los Angeles, as it is part of the exhibition Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation
on view until 13 March 2022.
The twelve bronze statues - three meters high and over 300kg each- represent the heads of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. Shown to the public for the first time in 2011 at the Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Plaza (New York), the pieces have since then travelled four different continents. The group was first exhibited at LACMA in 2011 (the year the artist was detained in China causing an international outcry).
For the artwork, the artist took inspiration from the statues that once decorated the Haiyantang Zodiac fountain at the Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace) in Beijing. As part of a water clock, the twelve animals would have sprouted water from their mouth in intervals of two hours each throughout the day.