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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Artist walks on Tate installation

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Artist Cai Yuan walked on Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern

A controversial Chinese-born artist staged a one man demonstration in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern today.

Cai Yuan breached security to walk on Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds installation, wearing a t-shirt drawing attention to the difficulty of working as an artist.

He has previously carried out works of art including Jumping on Tracey Emin’s Bed and Pissing On Duchamp’s Urinal.

Visitors were originally intended to walk on the porcelain sunflower seeds but were prevented because of health and safety fears.

The gallery has said the creation of dust from the porcelain could cause health problems.

Yuan, 54, who lives in Oxford and moved to the UK 27 years ago, wore a t-shirt which read: “I’m a real artist. I know 3 gallerists. I speak 2 languages. Fought for 27 years. Have 4 children. And no work for 27 years. But I only want one job.”

Speaking after the hour-long protest, he said: “It went really well. I was surrounded by hundreds of people. At the end I shook their hands and said ‘Hello, how do you do?’

“I told security this is art and a protest. I want to let people know my message through the text on my t-shirt and let people know what’s happening to the state of art.

“My intention is to create another new piece of work.”

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