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16 tree-mendous Instagrams of Ai Weiwei's 'Tree' installation

Isabelle Aron

Who says art belongs behind protected glass in so-quiet-you-could-hear-a-pin-drop galleries? Okay, we're not saying that the Tate Modern should just offload its entire collection on the streets, but lately we've noticed a few impressive installations cropping up outside in London and we definitely approve. First there was the giant pointing fingers in Trafalgar Square, then those mysterious apocalyptic horsemen lurking about in the Thames - and now eight giant trees have popped up in the courtyard of The Royal Academy of Arts.

The seven-metre tall trees are the work of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, and the installation coincides with a retrospective of his work at The Royal Academy that opens on September 19.



A photo posted by Elle Burnett (@ellebelle1223) on

Back in July, The Royal Academy of Arts started a Kickstarter campaign to bring Ai Weiwei's trees to London, which raised a total of £123,577 as fans of his work dug deep to help make the outdoor exhibit happen.


A photo posted by EPi (@eric.pietrac) on

Weiwei has been working on the 'Tree' series since 2009 and the whole installation is made from, er, trees - but not in their full form. Weiwei buys parts of trees that have died naturally in southern China and are sold in the markets of Jingdezhen, before transporting them to his Beijing-based studio where he pieces together the different chunks to make whole trees.


A photo posted by @ypesh on

And naturally, Londoners have already been Instagramming the hell out of those trees. Take a look at some more snaps:


A photo posted by Dee Bowman (@2deebowman) on


A photo posted by Leena Patel (@lpatel_41) on


A photo posted by Caroline Payne (@paynecarly) on


A photo posted by Mister Peebles (@hellopeebles) on


A photo posted by Esme (@esmed_art) on


A photo posted by Binita Dave (@bineeeets) on


A photo posted by Niki. (@sheisniki93) on


A photo posted by mbainesy (@mbainesy) on


A photo posted by @adaziv on


A photo posted by Anita 🌿 (@anitalin79306) on


A photo posted by Andrew Ellis (@drewellis) on


A photo posted by strikestwice (@strikestwice) on

Ai Weiwei’s 'Tree' will be on display in the courtyard until December 14.

Read more about Ai Weiwei's retrospective at The Royal Academy.

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