Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Films Chinese Authorities Demolishing His Studio With No Advance Warning
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei says that Chinese officials showed up at his Beijing studio and started demolishing his studio without prior warning.
In response, the artist responsible for the iconic bird’s nest stadium used for the Beijing Olympics started posting videos of the destruction on Instagram.
Speaking to NPR, Ai said that “We didn’t receive any advance warning or announcement of the demolition.”
Ai also said artwork was destroyed by the demolition.
“Works were damaged due to the unannounced attack on the studio. There was no caution taken,” Ai said. “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.”
ArtsNet reported that Ai is not alone. The space occupied by Ai’s gallery and others has been earmarked for demolition by the government who may see it as illegal.
According to Christophe Mao, founder of Chambers Fine Arts, “From my understanding, the area that has been asked to vacate is located along a strip of land next to the railroad. From the government point of view, these buildings were illegally built.”
Ai called the destruction an affront on free speech.
“Free speech and free expression have simply never existed in China or in its artist communities,” Ai told NPR after his studio was destroyed. “Those who do not belong to the establishment, including artists, are always the first to be discriminated against and sacrificed. Often, the authorities face no consequences in doing so.”
Ai posted a series of videos on his Instagram showing the extent of the destruction:
[image via screengrab]
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