Ai Weiwei: Making Sense


One of the few books to examine Ai Weiwei’s approach to design, architecture and the city.


ISBN: 9781872005638 Category:


The first book to dive exclusively into Ai Weiwei’s approach to design and collecting, shedding light on the value we ascribe to everyday objects.

Artist, film-maker, architect, activist, collector – whatever mode Ai Weiwei is in, he is trying to tell us something about the state of the world. This book presents Ai’s work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values. Confronted by the rapid pace of change in his country, Ai became fascinated by Chinese antiquities.

His vast collections of historical artefacts, from Stone Age tools to broken teapot spouts, attest to the way the language of objects speaks across the ages. Is this a classic tale of technical progress, or have we lost crucial qualities with the march of time? Ai invites us to make sense of these objects as he explores the tensions between past and present, hand and machine, precious and worthless, construction and destruction.

Additional information

Weight 1008 g
Dimensions 20.4 x 27 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 5 October 2023
Number of pages
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Justin McGuirk
Dimensions 20.4 x 27 cm
Weight 1008 g


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Justin McGuirk is chief curator at the Design Museum and the director of Future Observatory.

Brian Dillon, Rachel Hajek, Julia Lovell, Tim Marlow, Justin McGuirk, Wang Shu, Eyal Weizman