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Ai Weiwei's 'Forever' to be installed outside the Gherkin as part of Sculpture in the City 2015
This newly designed, monumental artwork is part of Ai’s series entitled Forever.

LONDON.- Between 4 and 13 September, Ai Weiwei’s Forever, (2014), will be installed in front of the 30 St Mary’s Axe, commonly known as the Gherkin, as part of the fifth edition of Sculpture in the City and in partnership with The Royal Academy of Arts exhibition.

This newly designed, monumental artwork is part of Ai’s series entitled Forever, which refers to the famous ‘Forever’ brand of bicycles that have been mass-manufactured in Shanghai, China since 1940. Once abundant on the streets of the Chinese cities, the surplus of bicycles are steadily dying out and being replaced by cars. The stainless-steel bikes are configured in ever-expanding modular shapes and layers of geometrically stacked and fused individual frames to create one large structure, a structure that echoes the layers and intricacies of the people and communities of China. Standing in front of London’s iconic Gherkin building, the work suggests a congregation of people or a massing of humanity – mirroring the daily hustle of the City of London, and its workday population nearing half a million people.

Ai Weiwei says: These are mostly objects that relate to my small world. For example, the Forever bicycles were a brand from when I was growing up. In our village there were no real roads and we always had to ride bikes to carry things. I thought they would be a good public sculpture because people relate to bikes. They’re designated for the body and operated with your body. There are a few things today that are like that.”

Sculpture in the City is a dynamic yearly public art exhibition in the City of London, launching each summer with a new selection of contemporary art pieces placed in and around the Square Mile. Officially starting this year on 9 July, the exhibition features 13 works from internationally renowned artists including Hirst, Sigalit Landau, Bruce Beasley, and Kris Martin. Forever, by Ai Weiwei, is the fourteenth and final work to be installed between 4 and 13 September to coincide with the Royal Academy’s much anticipated exhibition of this celebrated artist.

Now in its fifth year, the Sculpture in the City initiative aims to enhance our urban environment with cutting-edge contemporary works from leading artists. Set amongst London's iconic architectural landmarks, such as Norman Foster’s Gherkin, The Leadenhall Building (aka The Cheesegrater), and the Lloyd’s building by Richard Rogers, this open-air exhibition not only enriches the workday experience of City workers but draws cultural visitors into this most ancient part of the city.

Participating artists for Sculpture in the City 2015 are: Ekkehard Altenburger (Germany); Bruce Beasley (USA); Adam Chodzko (UK); Laura Ford (UK); Damien Hirst (UK); Shan Hur (Korea); Folkert de Jong (Netherlands); Sigalit Landau (Israel); Kris Martin (Belgium); Keita Miyazaki (Japan); Tomoaki Suzuki (Japan); Xavier Veilhan (France); and Ai Weiwei (China).

Sculpture in the City is a unique collaboration between the City of London Corporation (the elected body which looks after the Square Mile global business district), local businesses, and the art world, providing the opportunity for new audiences to engage with established and emerging contemporary artists. The initiative is delivered through a partnership between 22 Bishopsgate, 30 St Mary Axe, Aon, Aviva, British Land, Brookfield Office Properties, Hiscox, Tower 42, Willis, and WRBC Development UK Limited​, with the additional support of project patrons MTEC, Leadenhall Market, Price & Myers, and 6 Bevis Marks.

Sculpture in the City is facilitated and delivered by the City of London Corporation.

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