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    Posted May 16, 2014 by
    markpel
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    Ai Weiwei´s Political "Evidence" Exhibition in Berlin, Germany

     
    Ai Weiwei is without doupt the most famous contemporary artist in China. He was born in Beijing in 1957. His father Ai Qing was a poet and dissident.

    In 1958, when Ai Weiwei was one year old, the family was sent to a labour camp in north-western China. His father was rehabilitated in 1976 and the family returned to Beijing.

    1978 Ai Weiwei began to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Between 1981 and 1993 he lived in the USA, mainly in New York City where he studied at Parsons School of Design and at the Art Students League.

    1993 Ai Weiwei returned to Beijing because of his father´s ill health. 1999 he built his own studio in the outskirts of rural Beijing. At that time he also started to work with architects as an artistic consultant, e.g. with the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron for the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.

    In 2011 Ai Weiwei was arrested by the Chinese police in Beijing International Airport. He was held in a secret jail for 81 days and was released as a result of international pressure and protest.

    The "Evidence" exhibition at Berlin´s Martin Gropius Bau museum is his largest one-man-show till now. Almost all works and installations were designed specially for Martin Gropius Bau.

    The exhibition is political and mirrors Ai Weiwei´s life. Ai Weiwei is known as a person who never made compromises and never cooperated with the Chinese dictatorship.

    Authorities in China did not allow him to travel to his Berlin Exhibition.

    Since the opening on April 3 more than 100.000 visitors have seen the exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. It will be on show until July 7.

    Legend:

    1. "Stools" - Ai Weiwei´s team has gathered over 6,000 wooden stools from villages across northern China. The stools date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties and the Republican peroid. The installation covers the entire floor of Martin Gropius Bau´s central court or atrium.

    2. "Diaoyu Island" - Over the past few years, this small archpelago has been the center of a serious territorial dispute between China and Japan.

    3. Museum director Gereon Sievernich surrounded by media.

    4. IOU - Wallpaper" - Installation

    5. "He Xie" - The Chinese government uses the term "he xie" or "harmonious" to describe the political and social situation in China and an ideal contemporary Chinese society.

    6. "Zodiac Heads, Circle of Animals"

    7. "Untitled" - Office supplies confiscated from Ai Weiwei´s studio during his 81-day detention.

    8. "Very Yao" - Installation made from 150 bicycles. It commemorates a young Beijing resident who was arrested for allgedly riding an unlicensed bicycle. Later on, he was accused of murdering 6 Shanghai police officers and after an unfair process he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.

    9. "Souvenir from Shanghai" - Ai Weiwei made this installation of the remains of his Shaghai studio destroyed by Chinese authorities.

    10. "Surveillance Camera" - Police positioned seventeen surveillance cameras outside Ai Weiwei´s studio and home in Beijing. This camera is an exact replica of these cameras, but now made of marble.

    Markku Rainer Peltonen

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