Check out the documentary film, ‘Ai Weiwei meeting Wim Delvoye’ courtesy of Berlin-based film production company avanti media, producers of the award-winning documentary series, ‘Into the Night’ for the German-French television broadcaster ARTE.
Video credit: Into the night with Ai Weiwei und Wim Delvoye: A film by Edda Baumann-von Broen, Duration: 52 min. Produced by Avanti Media for ZDF / ARTE
Ai Weiwei: Taking a Stand for Art against Oppression
In 2007 the Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei met his Belgian peer Wim Delvoye at the documenta 12 art festival in Kassel. Ai Weiwei examines and plays on the culture clash of East and West, while Delvoye over and over confronts consumer society to the point of absurdity. The two extraordinary artists together give a deep insight into the mechanisms of art and politics.
It’s clear in this program that the provocative 52-year-old Weiwei is collision course with Beijing’s communist authorities: he denounces the lack of freedom, contempt for people and arbitrariness of China’s legal system. He is fearless, argumentive and inconvenient.
Amidst constant violations of human rights, he says: “It is best that I bring people to dream.” That is why he brought his installation Fairytale: 1001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs to the documenta in Kassel. The installation brought 1001 Chinese people to Kassel from all professions and all regions in China, ordinary people, some of whom did not even have an official name. The move was courageous. Subversive. Ai Weiwei: “These people have wasted their whole life in socialism. For them it was the last chance to see a part of the world.” For Ai Weiwei, man is the measure of art. “Normally artists produce work for unknown viewers. This piece of art I made for people who will never forget it. That’s the beauty.”
His name says it all. Weiwei itself means “double negative.” Ai claims of himself that he has always been both critic and collaborator.
This is a complex, multilayered tale. Delvoye is no stranger to controversy himself. They make an interesting pair. Ironically, the Belgian artist recently decamped to China—setting up shop there because he was advised by a German court that he was liable for prosecution anywhere in Europe for pursuing his pig-tattooing art projects.
There’s no confusion here. Beijing is trying to muzzle Ai Weiwei. His art is being taken down from the Internet. But for seven days via Web on ARTE, the way to stop Ai from being silenced is to make sure he is seen everywhere.
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