Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace

I’ve been away for a couple of days with my fellow NT Devon General Managers on a fact finding trip to see how other properties and organisations attract visitors, present their places and provide a Christmas offer. We visited four places – 2 NT and 2 non NT. This blog is about the Ai Weiwei exhibition that is being hosted at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. A later blog will feature the Christmas offers we visited at Killerton, Tyntesfield and Waddesdon. Lets see what we do after our visit – there are some brilliant Christmas offers around and lots of our places make an excellent backdrop to help people enjoy and celebrate Christmas in their own ways.

BlenheimThe amazing entrance to Blenheim Palace – the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the accidental birth place of Winston Churchill

Ai Weiwei has a large exhibition at Blenheim running until the 14th December – for more details see here. I really like to see the amazing spaces that so many large mansions / houses can offer as a location for art exhibitions – they enrich the visit enabling people to get two things for the price of one! I often blog about such exhibitions e.g. Hestercombe – see here and Peter Randall Page at Whiddon Deer Park – see here.

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist currently under house arrest in Beijing. He first came to my attention a few years ago when he exhibited ‘Sunflower seeds’ at the Tate Modern. The Blenheim exhibition contains dozens of pieces of his work. Here are a few examples.

ChandelierThe huge chandelier in the main entrance

Han Dynasty Vase with Coca Cola logoA replica Han Dynasty vase ….


He XieHe Xie – a couple of thousand porcelain crabs – in Chinese ‘crab’ also means freedom

Chinese zodiac symbols CockerelOne of the 12 Chinese zodiac symbols in bronze plated with gold

BubbleAn outdoor installation – Bubbles

Bowl of pearlsA bowl of pearls – mimicing a bowl of rice

Divina PropoerDivina Proportione in front of a Christmas tree

WeiWeiThe man himself

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