Ai Weiwei: Straight

In Straight, Ai uses rebar recovered from the rubble of collapsed schoolhouses following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The artist had every piece of mangled rebar straightened through a laborious process. The large divide in the piece is meant to suggest both a fissure in the ground and a gulf in values. The massive work serves as a reminder of the repercussions of the earthquake and expresses the artist’s concern over society’s ability to start afresh “almost as if nothing had happened.”