A number of news sources are reporting that Chinese art great Ai Weiwei is under house arrest in his north Beijing home. “I am under house arrest,” Mr Ai told The Daily Telegraph by telephone. “They asked me not to go and to tell everyone the party was off, but I said I couldn’t do that and they’d have to stop me.”
Chinese blogger Mélanie Wang has a report — with graphic photos — of an October 10th performance by artist He Yunchang (Ah Chang) where he executed his new work “One Meter Democracy” at Cao Chang Di in Beijing.
Wang describes the performance and its premise: “At the beginning, he presented his proposal … he would cut a wound on the right side of his body all the way from the clavicle down to below his knee; a wound one-meter long and 0.5-1cm deep. The whole process would be executed under the assistance of a medical doctor, yet without anesthesia.”
Ai Weiwei, internationally famed artist and chief provocateur of the Chinese art world, opened his London Turbine Hall installation today, the eleventh, and first for an Asian artist, in the Tate’s Unilever series of exhibitions.
The installation forms a gesture both classic for the artist and yet totally unexpected: a carpet of sunflower seeds now covers over 1,000 of the Turbine Hall’s 3,400 square meters of floorspace, in total over 150 tons. Photos from afar show an unmeasurable expanse of gray, a rectangular infinity that calls to mind Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s candy fields: part minimalist, part maximalist. The seed carpet is visually stunning, but beyond its striking appearance, the installation has a deep political, historical and social background.
Aiko’s recent exhibition at Andrew James Fine Art in Shanghai was actually made entirely in that Chinese city while she participated in the gallery’s residency program. This locality lends the work a different significance, a home-grown quality that’s reflected in the mix-in of Shanghai street signs and graphic elements. What we see is not so much a heroic, tragic artist struggling to produce a masterpiece, but a practicing artist reflecting the time and the place she occupies.
Xylo is a street artist who has just started mounting fake iPhones to the walls of London. They’re designed to raise awareness about the electronic worker suicides in China and some of the social injustices feeding our electronic obsession.
If you’ve been looking at the spectacular photos coming out of Expo 2010, which opened in Shanghai last weekend, then you’re probably wondering the same thing everyone else is, “Wow, what a spectacular display of modern architecture and design, but … wait a minute, why does the United States pavilion suck so much?” One word: corruption.
The Xinhua News Agency is reporting that the Chinese authorities have ordered the National Museum of China to lay claim to the rest of the keyboard fearing that the acquisition of “@” by the Museum of Modern Art would lead to a flood of acquisitions by other American institutions. [SPOOF]
Chances are if you’ve been following art news in the past few weeks, you’ve seen the name Ai Weiwei. Ai’s been all over the place lately, having a public conversation with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, getting interviewed on CNN about the role of social media in Chinese politics, and documenting recent artist protests in Beijing. The artist was even announced as the eleventh commission for the London Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall installation series, a run of exhibitions featuring such luminaries as Doris Salcedo, Rachel Whiteread and Olafur Eliasson.
Artists jerked out of their studios, cast out onto the street by the government. Building complexes in art zones destroyed without notice, their occupants harassed by hired thugs. Little to no compensation offered for leases cut short, real estate lies and lost investments in renovation and construction. These images, formed from media headlines, blog posts and on-the-spot photos, all contribute to a shocking (and not unrealistic) picture of the displacement of artists in Beijing.
While we live our artistic lives in the West in relative calm, if sometimes obscurity and poverty, artists in China face some very serious dangers from an autocratic government that only allows art to flower when it fits its political agenda. So when artists in China create a flash mob to protest the systematic destruction of artist studios, it is shocking that no one notices. Thankfully, Austrian blogger Karel has written something for mazine.ws about this vast injustice …
The mandala, one of Himalayan Buddhism’s most ubiquitous symbols, is created as an artistic aid for meditation but there may be other motivations as to why Tibetan art doesn’t get the attention it deserves, namely China.