Members of the public will no longer be able to walk across Ai Weiwei's installation in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall due to fears that dust from the porcelain seed replicas could prove damaging to health.
Ai Weiwei's 'Sunflower Seeds' installation for the Unilever Series was unveiled to the press on Monday and opened to the public on Tuesday. By Thursday visitors were told that the installation was closed for 'essential maintenance'.
On Friday morning the gallery confirmed that the installation would not be reopening, although it can still be viewed from the Turbine Hall bridge.
"Although porcelain is very robust, the enthusiastic interaction of visitors has resulted in a greater than expected level of dust in the Turbine Hall," says a Tate spokeswoman.
"Tate has been advised that this dust could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time.
"In consequence, Tate, in consultation with the artist, has decided not to allow visitors to walk across the sculpture."