The World's Most Dangerous Artist

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday August 9, 2018

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei posted on-site video on Instagram of the destruction of his Beijing Studio, which began last Friday, with many of his large-scale works still inside. His studio manager fed video to the artist, who resides in Berlin.

aiww Today,they started to demolish my studio zuo you[left/right] in Beijing with no precaution .which I have as my main studio since 2006. it is a East German style socialist factory building. farewell.

In an interview for National Public Radio, Ai said, "Right now, there is the misconception that it's simply the demolition of one artist's studio, which is not true. They have been demolishing migrant worker's homes, often in the middle of the night. They kick them out, destroy their personal belongings, and make them homeless or have them arrested for resisting eviction. This has been going on and on.

"In China, there is no independent judicial system and no independent media so these people do not have a voice. I consider myself lucky. I can still have my voice heard. My image can still appear on the internet and I can still make public my struggle. However, my argument is not about myself or my studio. It's a nice studio and I have used it for the last twelve years to produce large artworks. But beyond that, this situation reflects the reality that even those with certain privilege are also seen as irrelevant. They will not consider granting even a few days more to move out."

"Works were damaged due to the unannounced attack on the studio. There was no caution taken. However, compared to the memories, which have been lost, compared to a society which has never established trust in the social order, a trust in the rule of law, or a trust in any kind of unity in defending the rights of its people, what has been lost at my studio is insignificant, and I don't even care. There are profoundly deeper and wider ruins in this deteriorating society where the human condition has never been respected."

Ai WeiWei has 441k followers on Instagram; following are some of their comments.

teledyol Pray that you are able to build a new Beijing Style Peoples Art Factory and create a historical legacy on the ruins of political oppression. Pray that the People of China wake up and take control of their nation, currently occupied by backward minds.

defnenarsap Dont give up! There are thousands of people looking up to your fight! We are getting inspired to hold on thanks to you! This is the evidence of their cowardness! Hold on for all the oppressed nations! Hold on for art and for the freedom of self expression! You’ve got this!

enzocanale Here you see politics destroying itself. Your art lives on. Looking forward to seeing your works in London again, maestro.

72xminx52sem Nobody said it would be easy but despite the risks you went forward and as result leave a legacy for China and humanity. The most powerful action art.

polymergraphy You took Lego brick donations for your art before, I'll contribute real bricks now if it keeps the dream alive

cloudwatcheruno_photos My friend they may destroy the buildings but they cannot take away your ideas. ????

ladyhaniver An artist cannot be stopped from making art. It is who they are. Something new will come xx @aiww

natascocktails Truth cannot be demolished.

View 254 comments on Instagram

This is not the first time Chinese authorities have destroyed Ai's workplace. Early in 2008, the district government of Jiading, Shanghai invited Ai Weiwei to build a studio in Malu Township, as a part of the local government's efforts in developing its cultural assets. By August 2010, construction of Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai studio had been completed. In October 2010, the Shanghai government declared the Ai Weiwei Shanghai studio an illegal construction, and ordered its demolition. Ai decided to host a River Crab Feast and invited his friends and supporters over the internet. On November 7, 2010, Ai Weiwei was placed under house arrest by public security in Beijing, while over 1,000 supporters and friends attended the "River Crab Feast" at the Shanghai studio. On January 11, 2011, the Shanghai city government forcibly demolished Ai Weiwei’s studio, without any prior notice.

Color video with sound

109 min
Chinese with English subtitles


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