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28 Chinese

Table with Two Legs
by Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957)
Wood from Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.
© Ai Weiwei.

This object began as a Qing dynasty table (1644–1911), crafted without nails according to traditional Chinese woodworking techniques. Designed using specific principles of proportion and structure, tables of this kind were considered status symbols. Ai Weiwei disassembled the original table, erasing its original functional and aesthetic value, and then reconfigured it without leaving any trace of his intervention.

"My work is always a readymade. . . . [Such readymades could be] cultural, political, or social, and also it could be art—to make people re-look at what we have done, its original position, to create new possibilities." —Ai Weiwei, quoted in New Republic, February 1, 2013