Art philosophy: Ai Weiwei's Forever (2003)

Robert Sinnerbrink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


My discussion of Ai Weiwei's Forever (2003) explores this work in response to three philosophical and aesthetic questions: the role of the artworld context in understanding a work; the idea of the artwork as philosophical; and the idea that conceptual works can also be cultural-political. I suggest that it is the interplay of immediate perceptual encounter and background artworld knowledge that brings the meaning of the work to life. Weiwei's Forever shows how an artwork can be aesthetic (engaging our sensuous perceptual experience), philosophical (posing the question of its own status as an artwork), and cultural-political (opening the Gallery space to the broader social realities that the work obliquely references). In these ways I claim Forever is a philosophical work that is conceptual and cultural-political at once.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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