HAM Helsinki Art Museum showed Ai Weiwei´s first private exhibition in Finland in 2015. The unifying theme of the exhibition was wood – material he has used since the beginning of his career, respecting the Chinese handicraft traditions. HAM purchased Divina Proportione from the exhibition. The sculpture is made of rare huanghuali (chinese rosewood). The material is re-used, as it is important for the artist that no living trees are cut down for his artworks.
Ai Weiwei got the idea for the piece from a plastic toy for his cats. He has produced several version of this theme during the past years. The shape is also well known from the football. It is an icosahedron that has 12 pentagonal (five-sided) and 20 hexagonal (six-sided) faces. It has 90 edges and 60 vertices. It took Ai Weiweis carpenter-team two years to produce the piece using traditional wood-merging techniques. The long process included planning the ideal parts and constructions, and finding the most esthetically pleasuring proportions. The title of the artwork refers to a book by renaissance mathematician Luca Pacioli, De Divina Proportione, from 1509. In the book he adapts golden ratio and other mathematic proportions to geometry, the arts and architecture.
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) is one of the world`s most famous contemporary artists and human rights activists. The starting points of Ai Weiwei`s art has always been the present and past of China. He questions authorities and values. As a defender of human rights, he expresses critical opinions not recognized by the official China. At the same time there is a good-humoured feeling in his works. Ai Weiwei has without prejudices explored different aspects of the art field, such as architecture and music.