Ai has filled a floor of the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum with pieces large and small for his exhibition “Evidence,” which opened Wednesday and was billed by organizers as his biggest yet. Ai is barred from leaving China, but still made his presence felt unmistakably in the selection of works.
“Some are related to my current condition, related to my concerns; some are more aesthetic presentations of the kind of concerns that I always have with art, art history,” Ai said in a video message."
"Stuck in China, Ai Weiwei Continues Art ActivismExhibit of Ai's work opens in Berlin as a Kickstarter project launches for a film starring the artist.
Regarded as the most famous living Chinese artist and oft-compared to Andy Warhol in his pop art sensitivities and ability to grab headlines, Ai has been a thorn in China’s side for years due to his criticisms of the Communist government.
His work being showcased at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau museum, which was put together with the help of his assistants in his absence, continues on the themes of government dissent that have made him well known outside the art community and include a replica of the jail cell in which he was detained in 2011. Meanwhile, the film, called “Sand Storm,” is a 10-minute sci-fi thriller set in an a dystopian future, starring Ai (who also was the focus of the 2011 documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”) and filmed in secret in Beijing.
Ai, who is 56 years old, captured the world’s attention when he helped designed the arena known as the Bird’s Nest for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, only to boycott the Opening Ceremony."
"Ai Weiwei accused of creating pornography; supporters rush to his defense.. The Independent reports that Zhao Zhao, the cameraman and assistant to Ai, is being investigated for distributing pornography. Zhao Zhao was questioned by Beijing authorities on Thursday about an image entitled One Tiger, Eight Breasts. The photograph shows the corpulent artist naked and surrounded by four nude, smiling and giggling women in an empty room. There is no contact between the subjects.
Supporters of the infamous Chinese dissident artist claim that this is just the latest attempt by the Chinese government to silence him. Ai tweeted: "This is not pornography. If they see nudity as pornography, then China is still in the Qing dynasty," in reference to the imperial dyansty which collapsed in 1911.
The Independent adds that the timing of this so-called scandal is significant. It comes on the heels of Ai’s being foced to pay an £820,000 guarantee into a state bank account in order to contest a £1.5m tax bill levied against his design company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development. Ai disputed the allegations from the beginning, as Flash Art Online reported, and said he felt as if he had been forced to pay a "ransom" to the government. The money that Ai paid to the government came largely from supporters across China. Some threw cash into the courtyard of his Beijing home, the Independent adds.
When Ai spent 81 days in detention earlier this year, rumors circulated that he would be charged with pornography offenses. A well-known photographic work by the artist depicts him jumping naked into the air; in another, more directly critical work, his wife Lu Qing lifts her skirt in front of a portrait of Chairman Mao.
In response to the controversy, Ai’s supporters in China have begun to post nude photos of themselves online, the Guardian reports."