By Syrah for TheParisianPost.
Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous artist and political dissident, is currently giving his first major exhibition « Interlacing » of photographs and videos until 29 April 2012. His commitment comes from his father, poet Ai Qing, whose work was a victim of the Cultural Revolution.
> In 1999, he opened his own studio in Caochangdi, a village and arts area outside of 798 Art Zone in Beijing, China.
> In 2003, back from New York City, he returned to live in his hometown of Beijing, where, despite persecution, he continued to create and built the architectural design FAKE; the use of stone brick will be his trademark.
> In 2007, he created the first contemporary art space in Beijing, the Chinese Art Archives and Warehouse. His blog, now closed, becomes a brilliant tool for the dissemination of his thought and his work.
> In 2009, he named a list of child victims of the earthquake in Sichuan. He asked Internet users to pronounce aloud a name of victim and send the sound file to him, which creates a sound memorial.
> In October 2010, Ai Weiwei’s « Sunflower Seeds » at The Tate in London (over 100 million hand-painted ceramic sunflower seeds):
Ai Weiwei already used photography in his New York years, but especially since his return to Beijing, he has incessantly documented the everyday urban and social realities in China, discussing it over blogs and Twitter. Photographs of radical urban transformation, of the search for earthquake victims, and the destruction of his Shanghai studio are presented together with his art photography projects, the Documenta project Fairytale, the countless blog and cell phone photographs.
When he was arrested in April 2011 for tax evasion, and jailed for three months without his relatives have news, a wave of indignation rose in the world. Last November, an unprecedented mobilisation allowed him to collect €607,500, or over a third of the amount claimed by the Chinese government as fine for the alleged fraud. Released on bail June 22nd 2011, Ai Weiwei is still under a form of house arrest (see Jamil Anderlini’article from FT’s Beijing).
>> Jeu de Paume, 1, place de la Concorde 75008 Paris. 01 47 03 12 50 – http://www.jeudepaume.org/
>> The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei, Tate Modern.
>> Support Ai Weiwei at http://freeaiweiwei.org/