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Ai WeiWei – Cubes & Trees 19.06.16

The Heong Gallery, at Downing College in the centre of Cambridge, is one of several new contemporary art gallery spaces opening across the city on university sites.

This capsule display of Ai Wei Wei’s work is only the second show at the gallery which opened in February. Following his sunflower seeds installation at Tate’s turbine hall, and last year’s retrospective at the Royal Academy, AWW is a big name artist with broad popular appeal. Cambridge has always seemed strangely short of contemporary art venues, relying almost exclusively on historical collections. And with Kettle’s Yard closed for a major re-build, new spaces like the Heong Gallery, and similar endeavours at the Maxwell Centre, are very welcome. They form part of a wider initiative creating a livelier and more diverse cultural environment designed to attract further investment, and better appeal to talented students and research graduates.

A re-assembled tree stands in the courtyard with seven more on the lawns directly in front of the college chapel. The gallery contains four one-meter-square cubes made from crystal, Pu’er tea, Zitan wood and Huali wood. Videos are screened in reception (On The Boat, 2016) and in the Porter’s Lodge (Beijing 2003, 2003).

The show runs until October 2016. Details: Heong Gallery

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