Chinese Artist’s Studio Inexplicably Razed Early by Officials
Prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei found his studio turned into a pile of rubble, nearly a month earlier than the date initially stated by CCP officials. Ai, who served as consultant on the Beijing National Stadium project, was accused of building the structure without the necessary planning permission last year. Though demolition was initially slated for the first day of the Year of the Rabbit (February 3rd), he found that workers had already begun to destroy the studio this Tuesday.
“Everything is gone,” he said. “It’s all black now. They finished the job at 9 o’clock last night.”
“I called the officials and said, ‘You promised us not to take it down until after New Year’s Day,’ ” Mr. Ai recounted. “They said, ‘If the studio is to be taken down, it doesn’t matter if it’s sooner or later.’ ”
The studio, which was erected over two years in the Shanghai’s northern cultural district of Jiading, would have also served as an educational center for architecture. Originally a derelict warehouse, Ai says that Shanghai authorities initially supported his plan to spend $1 million redesigning the large space. Just a guess, but his recent clashes with the government — including his fervent support for Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo — probably didn’t help his creative cause. The CCP sure is one fickle lover.
In November, Ai was even barred from attending his planned celebration of the razing last year, his dissent turned into irreverent performance art.
About 80 percent of the structure stood in ruins by the time Ai had flown in from Beijing, where he lives. According to him, “officials might have moved ahead with their plans so that the destruction would take place without a spotlight.” Supporters have uploaded a photostream of the unfortunate event onto Flickr.
Still, Ai is moving on to make noise in Taiwan, where he is set to mount yet another exhibition. We wish him all the best.
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TAGS: Ai Weiwei • Art exhibition • Art studio demolished • Chinese Communist Party • Liu Xiaobo • Shanghai
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