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Ai Weiwei Collaborates with HORNBACH to Make Art Accessible to Everyone

'Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way' partnered with HEIMAT Berlin for the democratic artwork anyone can make

The HORNBACH brand has always stood for enabling its customers to create great things with creativity and their bare hands. In 2020, the DIY store chain, together with Heimat Berlin and Neutral Zurich, once again demonstrates this brand promise in spectacular fashion: HORNBACH presents a genuine piece by world-famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei that you can build yourself – with instructions and materials from HORNBACH, of course. 

With the artwork Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way, Ai Weiwei and HORNBACH aim to democratise art by making it accessible for everybody, with the only costs being for the materials. “We immediately loved the idea that anyone can own an original Ai Weiwei by means of their craftsmanship. This is a completely new type of project for our customers and fans,” commented Karsten Kühn, member of the board of management of HORNBACH Baumarkt AG.

This work of art belongs to anybody who wants to build it. As Ai Weiwei states: “Everybody can be an artist or has the opportunity or ability to make art.” A central motif in Ai Weiwei’s work is the concept of the ready made – an industrially manufactured object is redefined by the artist as a work of art. The piece consists of high-visibility safety jackets joined together by means of their zips. Removed from their original function, they merge into a shapeless soft sculpture. The assembled ready made Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way transforms realities and triggers unexpected perceptions.

The project is accompanied by a comprehensive publication, which includes not only the building instructions, but also a classification of how Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way fits into the artistic practice of Ai Weiwei. It also includes a certificate of authenticity and an interview the art critic and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist conducted with Ai Weiwei about the project.

The publication will be available in the HORNBACH online shop for EUR 18.00. The building instructions can be downloaded free of charge from here. A short documentary film on the project can be found here and a TVC will run on TV from 13th February 2020. 

In a fully collaborative effort, HORNBACH parent agency Heimat Berlin and Neutral Zurich are responsible for the implementation and communication of this project. The accompanying book was designed by Data-Orbit. 

Agency / Creative