interview with ai weiwei forward of engading artwork talks / E.A.T.
AI WEIWEI AT ENGADIN ART TALKS (E.A.T.) 2023
Ai Weiwei participates at this yr’s Engadin Artwork Talks (E.A.T.) from 27 to 29 January, 2023, in Zuoz, Engadin. Beneath the theme of HOFFNUNG? HOFFNUNG! / HOPE? HOPE!, the weekend-long occasion will discover the completely different meanings of hope by means of the lens of the inventive, humanitarian and scientific fields. A part of this yr’s panel of worldwide audio system, the Chinese language artist leads a various and prolific observe pushed by his social activism and political opinions. Encompassing sculptural set up, filmmaking, structure, pictures, ceramics, portray, writing and social media, his inventive work strikes between modes of manufacturing and investigation.
As an activist, he has been essential of the shortage of respect for human rights and freedom of speech in China, which, in 2011, led to his arrest and consecutive 81-day detention on costs of tax evasion. Persevering with to talk out on social and political points he believes essential, Ai Weiwei has emerged as one of many main cultural figures of his technology in China and past. ‘Artists are normally understood as individuals who undertake a specific type of work,’ Ai Weiwei tells designboom forward of his speak at Engadin Artwork Talks. ‘This understanding is improper. Actually, artists are individuals who suppose independently, have unbiased perceptions, and try to search out their very own methods of expression to alternate concepts, nearly instinctively.’ Learn our interview with the artist in full beneath.
Portrait of Ai Weiwei © Ai Weiwei Studio
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
designboom (DB): How does the 2023 Engadin Artwork Talks theme, HOPE? HOPE!’, relate to your observe?
Ai Weiwei (AW): My work is especially about attempting to elucidate my relationship with myself and the world. This clarification is normally about who I’m and what sort of world I stay in. The query of who I’m can solely be raised by means of reflections and expressions. If there’s any hope in our life, this hope encompasses desperation, disappointment, all our aspirations, what we think about to be right, how we hope to be understood, and the way we perceive different individuals’s worlds. Hope will stay hope if it isn’t acknowledged and confirmed by actuality.
Ai Weiwei, ‘Gilded Cage’ at Central Park, picture © designboom | extra right here
DB: What’s the position of an artist inside our present sociopolitical panorama?
AW: Artists are normally understood as individuals who undertake a specific type of work. This understanding is improper. Actually, artists are individuals who suppose independently, have unbiased perceptions, and try to search out their very own methods of expression to alternate concepts, nearly instinctively. All the trouble of artists displays human beings’ most essential actions; any individualistic fascinated about human nature will probably be an artists’ language.
DB: You lately signed a collection of clean A4 sheets of paper with invisible UV ink, and gave them out at no cost in Hyde Park on the event of Human Rights Day. Are you able to inform us extra about this initiative?
AW: Free speech and free expression are an important basis stones of human rights and humanitarianism. Though the idea of human rights has been established for a very long time, not everybody can clearly categorical its concrete concepts, attributes, and methods of expression. For me, free expression is an important a part of human rights.
On the Human Rights Day, the act of signing my title on sheets of A4 paper in UV ink and distributing them to individuals who got here for one at Audio system’ Nook in Hyde Park could be very symbolic. It symbolizes two issues. Firstly, free expression must have a singular language that belongs to every particular person and is expressed in accordance with their relationship with the world, and the attributes of the sociopolitical atmosphere on the planet these days. Secondly, free expression is a habits that’s progressively shrinking and shedding its worth system. In our surroundings at the moment that’s typically thought of as democratic, free, and open, free expression remains to be a really uncommon habits.
DB: Artwork for Tibet, the annual fundraiser supporting the battle for the Tibetan individuals’s basic human rights and freedom, included your work, ‘Hanger’, if you are additionally a part of the honorary committee. How did you develop into concerned with Artwork for Tibet, and do you may have extra plans to help their mission sooner or later?
AW: People who find themselves persecuted by autocratic regimes, be they Tibetans, Uyghurs, or different peoples in different nations and areas, have to kind their very own voice and expression. It’s the solely option to maintain on to the widespread imaginative and prescient: human society can’t be dissociated from primary equity and justice. When it’s nonetheless attainable for me, I’ll proceed to help teams and individuals who lack a platform for their very own voices and expression.
Ai Weiwei, Hanger, Stainless-steel, 8 5/8 x 18 7/8 x 3 in, 2012 | picture through Artwork for Tibet / Bidsquare
DB: In 2022 you had your first exhibition of glass sculptures in Venice, whereas Vienna’s Albertina Fashionable gallery held your greatest retrospective thus far. Do you want doing exhibitions? Do you favor theme-specific exhibits, or larger ones the place you’ll be able to contact on extra themes?
AW: Exhibition is only one approach of expression. It exists inside a cultural framework and in collaboration with establishments as a type of compromise. As a matter of reality, there are lots of different methods of expression, e.g., web, social media, movie, and writing. Each medium has its personal attributes and its personal path of creativity. Exhibition is just not the one approach of expression for me.
Ai Weiwei, ‘La Commedia Umana’ on the Roman Nationwide Museum, picture by Daniele Peruzzi | extra right here
DB: What are you engaged on in the mean time?
AW: I can summarize it as a retrospective résumé of my previous life in previous age. Within the course of I hope to be enlightened in my understanding of life and undergo the remainder of my life extra correctly.
DB: Are you optimistic in regards to the future?
AW: I don’t suppose we have now the so-called future. Our future is simply an built-in idea that mixes at the moment and yesterday. I’m not too optimistic about that.