Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei was detained by authorities in Beijing while trying to board a flight to Hong Kong on 3 April. He has not been seen or heard from since. Ai Weiwei is particularly well known for his Study of Perspective, a series of first-person photographs in which the artist gives the finger to various landmarks around the world, notably the Forbidden City. Now accused of tax evasion by the Chinese authorities, the art world nevertheless continues to deplore the detention of Ai Weiwei and seems to be determined to show or proceed with his planned projects.
Ai Weiwei, born in 1957, the son of the poet Ai Qing, is a generalist, a conceptual, socially critical artist dedicated to creating friction with, and forming reality. As an architect, conceptual artist, sculptor, photographer, blogger, Twitterer, interview artist, and cultural critic, he is a sensitive observer of current topics and social problems: a great communicator and networker who brings life into art and art into life. For many years Ai Weiwei has been deliberately confronting social conditions in China and in the world: Through photographically documenting the architectonic clear-cutting of Beijing in the name of progress, with provocative measurements of the world, with radical cuts in the past in order to create possibilities for the present and the future, and with his tens of thousands of blog entries, blog photographs, and cell phone photographs (along with many other artistic declarations). This first, large exhibition and book project of his photography and videos focuses on Ai Weiwei's diversity, complexity, and connectedness, his 'interlacing' and 'networking.'
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