The site for the documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” by director Alison Klayman describes him as “China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic.
“Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.”
In this trailer for the film [from the film site], the artist is asked “What is your political party” and responds, “None, I’m an independent artist.”
[You can sign up to be notified when it becomes available on the Amazon page.]
In her article Giving Voice to a Big-Picture Thinker (New York Times, July 26, 2012), Manohla Dargis writes about some of his “dissident” activity:
“In May 2008, right after the catastrophic earthquake in the Sichuan Province, Mr. Ai had begun posting photographs of the disaster on his blog. A few months later he began distancing himself from the National Stadium known as the Bird’s Nest, which had been built in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics and for which he had been a creative consultant. He called the China Olympics effort a ‘pretend smile’ and criticized its heavy security.”
She adds that in an article for The Guardian, “he wrote that China’s quest for gold medals wasn’t important.
‘What counts,’ Mr. Ai wrote, are ‘the tens of thousands of lives ruined because of poor construction of schools in Sichuan, because of blood sellers in Henan, because of industrial accidents in Guangdong and because of the death penalty. These are the figures that really tell the tale of our era.’“
In his review article about the documentary: ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ reveals authentic artist at work (Los Angeles Times August 3, 2012), film critic Kenneth Turan notes “he was named the most powerful artist in the world by ArtReview” and “sprung onto the world scene as a conceptual artist who helped design the Bird’s Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and then announced he was boycotting the Games because of what he saw as dictatorial government policies.”
A fellow artist says Ai is “not the kind of person we are familiar with in China. He doesn’t work within the system. He’s just himself.”
Turan adds, “Being just himself has recently gotten Ai into extraordinary trouble with the Chinese regime. He was held incommunicado for 81 days last year under conditions that verged on psychological torture and was released only to be charged with tax evasion and fined $2.4 million in unpaid taxes and penalties, a sentence that was upheld just a few weeks ago.”
“I am now more of a chess player than an artist, waiting for my opponent to make the next move,” Ai says. If we don’t push, nothing happens. Life is more interesting when you make a little effort.”
“The Chinese government has gotten tough on Ai because social media, first a blog and then a Twitter stream (@aiww), has made his presence and his thoughts ubiquitous in China and beyond.”
“The Internet is the greatest invention of the 20th century,” he says. “It allows ordinary people a chance to change public opinion.”
Video: Interview with Ai Weiwei on Nightline, 07.27.12
“If artists betray the social conscience and the basic principles of being human, where does art stand then?” – Ai Weiwei, from the book Ai Weiwei Speaks, by Hans Ulrich Obrist, which identifies him as ‘artist, architect, curator, publisher, poet and urbanist.’
Photograph by Dan Chung from article: Ai Weiwei: the art of protest – in pictures.
Article publié pour la première fois le 05/08/2015