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Harlequin brings Ai Weiwei’s explosive artwork to life at the Imperial War Museum, London

Harlequin brings Ai Weiwei’s explosive artwork to life at the Imperial War Museum, London
Harlequin brings Ai Weiwei’s explosive artwork to life at the Imperial War Museum, London

UK – In an historic event at the IWM London’s iconic Atrium the entire space has been taken over by an artist. Internationally renowned Ai Weiwei’s ‘History of Bombs’ is a site-specific work that explores a two dimensional rendering in exacting detail of 50 true-to-scale bombs and missiles. This special commission is part of Weiwei’s exploration into politics and power and the ways in which contemporary conflicts and disasters impact on human life. The commission coincides with the museum’s Refugee season.

With bombs underfoot and aircraft overhead these terrifying weapons of mass destruction provoke uneasy thoughts about history, war and conflict. Dating from 1911 to 2019 these life-size bombs from Russia, the US, UK, Germany, Italy and Israel are mapped across the main hall in a vast and impressive floor covering.

Harlequin Floors, world-renowned event floor experts for live events, concerts & touring and display for retail, commercial installations and museums, were privileged to work on this amazing project. Harlequin supplied, printed and installed over 900sqm of Harlequin Clarity vinyl event floor which was reverse-printed with Ai Weiwei’s ‘History of Bombs’ artwork. Reverse printing gives a 2mm protective wear coat which means the floor is capable of withstanding very high foot traffic, vital in busy venues such as museums. The polished concrete subfloor was protected with layers of ram board and isolator membrane with the vinyl drops being cold welded to give a seamless finish. Harlequin’s installation team worked on the impressive installation, making sure every one of the 22 drops of vinyl spanning 44 linear metres with multiple images, shading and colours all matched up perfectly.

photos: Imperial War Museum, Lambeth

12th August 2020

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