Zodiac by Ai Weiwei

Zodiac by Ai Weiwei
Ai WeiWei (3)

Zodiac | A Graphic Memoir, by renowned artist Ai Weiwei, is an exquisitely illustrated and profoundly philosophical graphic memoir, that delves into the intricate relationship between artistic expression and intellectual freedom, using the Chinese zodiac as a thought-provoking framework.

As a child living in exile during the Cultural Revolution, Ai Weiwei often found himself with nothing to read but government-approved comic books. Although they were restricted by the confines of political propaganda, Ai Weiwei was struck by the artists’ ability to express their thoughts on art and humanity through graphic storytelling. Now, decades later, Ai Weiwei and Italian comic artist Gianluca Costantini present Zodiac, Ai Weiwei’s first graphic memoir.

Inspired by the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac and their associated human characteristics, Ai Weiwei masterfully interweaves ancient Chinese folklore with stories of his life, family, and career. The narrative shifts back and forth through the years—at once in the past, present, and future—mirroring memory and our relationship to time. As readers delve deeper into the beautifully illustrated pages of Zodiac, they will find not only a personal history of Ai Weiwei and an examination of the sociopolitical climate in which he makes his art, but a philosophical exploration of what it means to find oneself through art and freedom of expression.

Contemplative and political, Zodiac will inspire readers to return again and again to Ai Weiwei’s musings on the relationship between art, time, and our shared humanity.

Ai Weiwei leads a diverse and prolific practice that encompasses sculptural installation, filmmaking, photography, ceramics, painting, writing, and social media. Born in Beijing, China, in 1957, he is a conceptual artist who fuses traditional craftsmanship and his Chinese heritage, moving freely between a variety of formal languages to reflect on contemporary geopolitical and sociopolitical conditions. Ai Weiwei’s work and life regularly interact and inform one another, often extending to his activism and advocacy for international human rights.

Contributions by:  Elettra Stamboulis, a Greek Italian writer and art curator. She has written numerous graphic novels and comics articles that have published in many languages around the world. She specializes in reality-based comics and has curated European exhibitions of the work of Joe Sacco and Marjane Satrapi. As a curator, her work is dedicated to the promotion of artists at risk and she recently has curated exhibitions of work by Zehra Doğan, Badiucao, and Victoria Lomasko.

Illustrated by:  Gianluca Costantini, an Italian cartoonist, comic journalist, and activist. He has contributed to numerous publications and is the author of several graphic novels. He is well known for his drawing related to human rights campaigns all over the world. He collaborates with organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, ActionAid, and SOS Méditerranée. In 2019, he received the Art and Human Rights Award from Amnesty International.

  • ISBN: 1984862995
  • ISBN-13: 978-1984862990
  • 176 pages
  • January 30, 2024

Publisher: Ten Speed Graphic