The large scale and use of a range of materials create a incredible impact in the Royal Academy galleries. Much of his work uses Chinese materials such as jade and marble, working with skilled craftsmen to produce each piece, from woodwork or carving to casting. Whether taking the ruins of something or using a ready-made object, Ai Weiwei creates something that feels new and different each time.

His work is meant for engaging with – social media sharing is encouraged and many pieces create different experiences for the viewer – more than just looking from afar, many pieces can be walked under or viewed from above.

A few of our highlights:

Straight: An emotive commemoration to the 5,000 schoolchildren who died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, created from 90 tonnes of twisted metal from the rubble of schools, all straightened by hand.

Straight: An emotive commemoration to the 5,000 schoolchildren who died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, created from 90 tonnes of twisted metal from the rubble of schools, all straightened by hand.

Bicycle chandelier: stunning against the backdrop of the rotunda, it combines crystals that are the same as those found in the great imperial halls and stacks of bicycles – a key icon of the Chinese people.

Bicycle chandelier: stunning against the backdrop of the rotunda, it combines crystals that are the same as those found in the great imperial halls and stacks of bicycles – a key icon of the Chinese people.

Grapes: Qing stools melded together in such a way that seems to defy gravity and mutated as if the leg of one stool goes through the next. The whole piece appears balanced on only three legs.

Grapes: Qing stools melded together in such a way that seems to defy gravity and mutated as if the leg of one stool goes through the next. The whole piece appears balanced on only three legs.