Transfigure Photography ethos is to find the converging line between the world of film, fine art and commercial photography and bound all those agents together to cook up a dream and add it to a reality. I work with an idea, visualise it and create it. Transfigure Photography says as much about me than the name denotes. I have metamorphosed myself from a snapshot photographer to a professional photographer, photographing many different subjects, from seascapes, portraiture, to monster dump trucks.

Photography for me is walking hand in hand with film making, converging the demand for creative exploration and pushing the boundaries in liberating client’s realities to give their photo shoot a new perspective digitally.


I just don’t use my camera to take photographs I work, blend and arouse, still and moving images.

I'm available for commissioned work.

You can contact me Here

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei
“Everything is art. Everything is politics”, says Ai Weiwei (born in 1957), one of the world’s most
influential contemporary artists. As a conceptual artist, a documentary filmmaker, and an
activist, his works exert criticism not only on the regime of his native China, but respond as well
to the political reality of Europe’s current refugee crisis.

http://www.21erhaus.at/jart/prj3/belvedere/data/21er%20Haus_Ai%20Weiwei_en.pdf
During our visit to Belvedere Gardens, in Vienna, we were lucky enough to visit an exhibition curated by Alfred Weidinger, which stretches out into the baroque Belvedere gardens, where one can also find Al Weiwei’s work, entitled “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” which is an ensemble of bronze heads from the Chinese zodiac.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vienna 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

The works of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei express his critical approach to the history, culture, and politics of his country and subtly reflect his own life story. Complex intersections of past and present heighten the fascination of the installation “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads” that his installation will be placed by the large water basin on the south side of the Belvedere.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

In these twelve bronze heads from the Chinese zodiac the artist addresses the ransacking of the fountain at the summer palace Yuanming Yuan in Beijing by French and British troops in 1860. Built in 1709, this
imperial retreat pre-dated Prince Eugene’s garden palace by only a few years. Marking the end of the Second Opium War, this wanton act of destruction and pillaging was a bitter humiliation for
the people of China.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

In 2009 two of the looted animal heads (the original sculptures were of the whole body) from the Yves Saint Laurent private collection came up for sale at auction. The publicity this attracted led to a further five animal heads coming to light; the rest are still missing. All of the Chinese government’s efforts to repatriate the bronzes have failed.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei responded by recreating the series in bronzes that are not exact replicas but an artistic representation. The artist deliberately placed the heads, which were literally decapitated by the looters,
onto posts and will place them around the Upper Belvedere’s main water feature as a prelude to
the exhibition at the 21er Haus.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

The Historical and Political Context of Ai Weiwei‘s Art “The Second Opium War” signified the beginning of the end of Imperial China 160 years ago, ushering in a new chapter in the country’s history. In the same way the Cultural Revolution, started by Mao Zedong in 1966 and ending with his death in 1976, marked a further wholescale cultural transformation. To meet the ideals of Socialism, both society and the party needed to be reformed along the lines of proletarian values. China’s culture dating back thousands of years and based on the teachings of Laozi, Buddha, and Confucius was practically eradicated by this political coercion.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

These draconian measures opposed traditional values and led to the uprooting, banishing, and eradication of family traditions, and the seizure, or even destruction, of property. Ai Qing, a Chinese poet and Weiwei’s father, was a victim of these repressive policies. The party prohibited him from publishing his work and deported him and his family to remote provinces. This humiliating treatment lasting almost two decades scarred the family for life and has had a lasting impact on the work of Ai Weiwei.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

The subjects of expulsion, migration or even an intentional “change of scenery” as catalysts of transformation in people and objects run like a thread through the life and work of Ai Weiwei.
This applies to his youth as much as to his time as an artist in the USA, his return to China, and his emigration to Berlin. Every translocation is followed by a process of readjustment. This also involves inner migration and a change of identity. In spite, or perhaps because, of his nomadic life, Ai Weiwei remains a social figure, a political animal, and cannot be seen as detached from his environment, fellow humans, society, tradition and culture.
Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” located at the Upper Belvedere, Vieena 2016

Translocated Architecture: A Temple from the Ming Dynasty at the 21er Haus. It is against this background that Ai Weiwei’s interest in the history of the 21er Haus should be understood. This building, originally devised as an ephemeral pavilion for the 1958 Brussels World Expo, was destined to be demolished having served its purpose.

21er haus vienna

21er haus vienna

But in the end it was transferred to Vienna and adapted into a museum of contemporary art. There are parallels here with the history of a Ming Dynasty ancestral hall, which lay behind Ai Weiwei’s choice for the key work in his exhibition at the 21er Haus, starting on 29 June 2016. The temple held an important role for the family during the Ming Dynasty. In this particular case the temple in question was theancestral hall of the first settlers of a village in the southern province Jiangxi.
21er haus vienna

21er haus vienna

All photographs copyright to Roland Keates

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

UA-61820204-1