Ai Weiwei

19 September — 13 December 2015

This exhibition is now closed

See upcoming exhibitions


"A great artist, and a great exhibition. Not to be missed"

Mail on Sunday

Major artist and cultural phenomenon Ai Weiwei takes over our main galleries with brave, provocative and visionary works.

Our most recent single artist shows have seen some of the true greats of contemporary art animate our Main Galleries with unforgettable, powerful work. Hockney, Kapoor, Kiefer – you need to be a special artist to embrace the immensity of our historic spaces. Who better then to take up the challenge this autumn than Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most influential artists.

Please note that all advance and walk-in tickets for this exhibition are now sold out.

Ai became widely known in Britain after his sunflower seeds installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010 but this is the first major institutional survey of his work ever held in the UK and it bridges over two decades of his extraordinary career.

Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing, we present some of his most important works from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Among new works created specifically for our galleries and courtyard are a number of large-scale installations, as well as works showcasing everything from marble and steel to tea and glass. 

With typical boldness, the chosen works explore a multitude of challenging themes, drawing on his own experience to comment on creative freedom, censorship and human rights, as well as examining contemporary Chinese art and society.

“The work that you will see at the RA transcends the world of the gallery… This is an exhibition that reveals art’s greatest potential.” - The Times

19 September — 13 December 2015

Final weekend opening times: Open from 10am on Friday 11 December until 6pm Sunday 13 December.

£17.60 (without donation £16). Concessions available. Friends of the RA, and under 16s when with a fee-paying adult, go free. Tickets include a multimedia guide and Friends of the RA will receive one for free.

Main Galleries, Burlington House