Wednesday 1 December 2021

Lot 173

Ai Weiwei, Chinese b.1957-   Fairytale 1001 Chairs (Nr. L/R - 067, Nr. L/R -...

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Lot 173

Ai Weiwei,
Chinese b.1957-
Fairytale 1001 Chairs (Nr. L/R - 067, Nr. L/R -...

Price Realised: Unsold Lot

Estimate: £7,000 - £9,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (30% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 173


Ai Weiwei,
Chinese b.1957-


Fairytale 1001 Chairs (Nr. L/R - 067, Nr. L/R - 068), 2007;


two wooden chairs, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), bear Chinese calligraphy on the bottom, one chair 98 x 58 x 43.5 cm, one chair 95 x 42 x 36.5 cm (2)


Provenance: Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland; where purchased by the present owner.


Exhibited: 'Fairytale Chairs', Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2014.


Note: This lot is accompanied with a certification of authenticity.


Ai Weiwei is undeniably one of the most important and best-known artists of the modern day. Ais role as an activist is inseparable from his artworks, which are heavily loaded with the artists well-documented criticism of Chinas political regime.


Ai regularly produces artwork in a variety of media, often creating large-scale installations, of which the present piece is a part. These chairs are from an exhibition held at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2007, which consisted of 1,001 chairs in total, as an extension of Ais project for Documenta 12, Kassel, in the same year, where he brought 1,001 Chinese citizens to Kassel for 20 days. The chairs therefore represent each of these individuals, highlighting the difficulties with international travel which many ordinary Chinese citizens can face. This piece also raises concepts of the role of the individual within the collective, as suggested by Ais use of 1,001 different antique chairs, each with a distinct history and appearance. This work expresses both the challenge to existing political authority and the highly conceptual approach which defines Ais work.


Works by Ai are in a number of prominent collections throughout the world, such as the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, he is perhaps best known in the UK for his high-profile installation of sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern in 2010. Kettle's Yard, Cambridge is currently hosting an exhibition entitled 'Ai Weiwei: The Liberty of Doubt' until June 2022. The exhibition explores globalisation, the coronavirus pandemic and current geopolitical crises through the juxtaposition of historic Chinese objects with his own artworks.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over £1,000 as follows:
0 to £50,000 - 4%
£50,000.01 to £200,000 - 3%
£200,000.01 to £350,000 - 1%
£350,000.01 to £500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding £500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at £12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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