The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern has been carpeted with over 100 million "suflower seeds" covering 1,000 square foot of space- the latest installation in the Unilever Series. The sunflower seeds are actually porcelin and have been handcrafted by skilled artisans who moulded, fired at soaring temperatures, hand-painted and then fired the seeds again over the course of two years . The man responsible for the dreaming up the sculpture is chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
Initially, the installation encouraged the public to walk on and touch the seeds, however, shortly after the exhibition opened, the Tate decided that people would no longer be able to enter the work as the dust that the seeds stir up posed a health risk. Unfortunatley, I visited after this rule had been imposed.
Before I go on, I have to say that I think so much art, the meaning and the people behind it, is pretentious wank (not all but some ruin it for others), but I can't help having an opinion and I think that having a sculpture like this is pointless if people can't interact with it. I mean, yeah, fine, it's impressive that all these seeds were handcrafted but wtf is the point in it? why bother? I understand that it could be a health risk, but health and safety is just an excuse for a lack of common sense so if people are aware of the risks of entering the work then why shouldn't they be allowed the choice? how dangerous can it really be? Or maybe there isn't any health implications at all, maybe pikey bastards just went on the rob and ruined it for the rest of us? I can understand that the Tate would be worried if they thought they would have no seeds left by the end of the the installations run time and to be fair Id pocket a few if I had the chance.
But all in all, the detail of the seeds was incredible, comprehending the time and effort put into crafting the vast amount of seeds is impossible but the fact that you can't go make a snow angel in the seeds is crap.