In his Wave sculptures, Ai appropriates the motif’s earlier pictorial representation as “cultural ready-mades.” Made with the assistance of craftsmen at Jingdezhen, in Jiangxi Province, China’s center for fine porcelain production, the celadon-glazed body of this piece recalls vessels produced at the Longquan kilns located outside the Southern Song capital of Hangzhou, while its form may have been inspired by a depiction of waves by the Southern Song court painter Ma Yuan (ca. 1160–1225) as well as the famous Japanese woodblock print Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave), by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.