The opening of Ai Weiwei _ Odyssey was on April 23rd in Palermo. This project has been promoted by Amnesty International Italy and the Regional Ministry for culture of Palermo.

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

This is a 1300 sm site specific installation taking up the venue of  Zac – Zisa Arti Contemporanee. This is a titanic project dedicated to migrants and refugees, conceived for the city of Palermo for which  welcoming has become a motto. The work by this Chinese artist is a floorpaper where scenes from real facts and artistic imaginary are illustrated.

Stylized black and white images remind us of vase painting with black subjects with Greek origins.

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

This fusion between tradition and contemporary has allowed Ai Weiwei to create a strong emotional impact.  A genuine power surge that exposes  a personal path and increased in the last years thanks to a great study on refugees and reception centers all over the world.  The visual impact is extraordinary. A bichromatic stretch telling one of the most debated human issues in the 21st century.

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

Ai Weiwei _ Odyssey is therefore the narration of desperation, fear and suffering of those who have to move from their country just because they were born in a specific “part” of the world. However, the artist tells the story of those who try to stop this unstoppable flux with violence and narrow-mindedness.

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – work detail photo by Virginia Glorioso

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – photo view by Virginia Glorioso

“Odyssey” Ai Weiwei – photo view by Virginia Glorioso

In the end, ZAC is an artistic project that make us think and see the daily life of those people obliging us not to turn our eyes away. This work make visitors walk on it to observe and understand without looking up because there is nothing.

Article by Virginia Glorioso

English translation by Chiara Vilmercati