[Jakarta, LttW] In this century the World is in great need of great figures who carry upon them the great values, and in our point of view Ai Wei Wei is one such appropriate figure. Regarding his work, the Chinese-born Ai Wei Wei is an architect, fine artist, and also a democracy activist; and it is his democracy activism that leads him in his artistic vision, confronting the local government while they hold on to their Communist ideology. Ai Wei Wei’s activism reminds us of our recent “Your Thoughts” discussion topic on Sovereignty and Humanitarian Intervention, an issue that continues to be relevant today.
One prominent project that involve Ai Wei Wei was the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium in Beijing. He has regretted helping the Communist government to complete the project, as it gives an impression that the stadium project shows to the World that China has high-quality, modern infrastructure; he has later disavowed his involvement in the design of the stadium. He has also been detained and placed under house arrest and under intensive surveillance under the Chinese government for his protest of the Chinese government’s handling of the victims of the earthquake in Sichuan, China. Ai Wei Wei has stated that the Government has not been honest in their disclosure about the victim data of the earthquake, most of whom were children/students. In connection to this catastrophe Ai Wei Wei has held art installation projects overseas particularly in Europe.
To better understand Ai Wei Wei as an artist we also recommend watching the documentary film, “Never Sorry”, created by Alison Klayman, which rather clearly conveys what he was doing at the time.
Despite his controversial actions, Ai Wei Wei is very brave in his decisions to push boundaries; even as his Motherland has gone so far as to demolish his art studio in Shanghai, China; and even after the Beijing government on another occasion given him State-sponsored rewards. Ai Wei Wei continue to be a prolific figure, never giving up under the constraints that oppress his life, he continues the artistry of his works, driven by political context while being aesthetically and visually marvelous.
And now he has a huge number of worldwide followers, all inspired by his life and what he has done for the sake of the minorities and the oppressed. However this World has become sorely lacking figures who has such a high level of commitment, and we need more people like him to exist in order to make a better future.
Ai Weiwei show at Royal Academy to house heaviest sculpture
BBC News, 16 June 2015
A monumental work by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei will be the heaviest sculpture ever shown at the Royal Academy of Arts. The 90-tonne installation, entitled Straight, is made from steel rods from buildings damaged in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. It forms part of a major retrospective of Ai’s work opening at the Academy in London in September. The show is being mounted in Ai’s absence, since he cannot leave China.
Following the Sichuan quake, Ai collected some 200 tonnes of twisted steel rods destined for recycling. They were straightened by hand in his studio in Beijing and returned to the form they would have been in before they were bent by the earthquake. The resulting artwork is described by the RA as “a sober monument to the victims of the earthquake”.
In a statement, Ai said he was “honoured” to have the chance to exhibit at the Royal Academy.
“I’m very happy to be a part of it. This exhibition is my first major survey in London, a city I greatly admire. The selected artworks reflect my practice in recent years, and also include new works made specifically for this show.”
Among those new pieces is Remains (2015) – a porcelain work that replicates a group of bones excavated at the site of a labour camp that operated under Communist leader Mao Zedong in the 1950s. Adrian Locke, co-curator of the exhibition said: “Working with Ai Weiwei has presented us with new challenges but his ability to comprehend space, even without having experienced it first-hand, and the clarity of his vision for the use of that space in relation to his work has been revelatory.” The RA said exhibition was developed in close collaboration with Ai, who “virtually navigated the spaces” from his studio in Beijing.
Ai used a similar method when he helped but together an exhibition of his work at Blenheim Palace last year. The artist has not been able to leave China since his passport was confiscated four years ago. An outspoken critic of the Chinese government, Ai was detained for almost three months without charge in 2011. After he was released, he was accused of tax evasion and fined 15m yuan ($2.4m, £1.5m). As part of his bail conditions, the Chinese authorities imposed a foreign travel ban on the artist.
Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy runs from 19 September – 13 December 2015.
News article originally published at the BBC News Website.