China's Greatest Artist

China's Greatest Artist

Posted in the China Forum


Port Moody, Canada

#1 Feb 26, 2013
Visit his home page:

Port Moody, Canada

#2 Feb 26, 2013
follow on twitter:

Port Moody, Canada

#3 Feb 26, 2013

Port Moody, Canada

#4 Feb 26, 2013
"Ai Weiwei is China's most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.

AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures."

Port Moody, Canada

#5 Feb 26, 2013

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," the 2012 feature documentary about the outspoken Chinese artist, will air on PBS Monday night as part of the Independent Lens series. In Southern California, the movie is scheduled to air on PBS SoCal (KOCE) at 10 p.m.

The documentary, directed by Alison Klayman, debuted last year at the Sundance Film Festival where it won a special jury prize, and was later released in movie theaters in the U.S.

Ai has risen to fame in recent years for his conceptual art but more so for his online activism, which has gotten him into trouble with Beijing officials on a number of occasions. In 2011, he was arrested and put into secret detention for 81 days. Since his release, the artist has not been able to travel outside China.....

Port Moody, Canada

#7 Feb 26, 2013
By Boon Chan
The Straits Times
Monday, Feb 25, 2013

Artist, activist, blogger, provocateur - China's Ai Weiwei is known as much for his art installations as for his stinging criticisms of the Chinese government for corruption and cover-ups.

At the same time, he is also a husband and a son. And one gets a glimpse of the more personal side of the man in American film-maker Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

It documents his life from about end-2008 to mid-2011, taking in his high-profile international art shows as well as clashes with the Chinese authorities.

It will be screened at The Arts House on Feb 24 and 28, as well as at the inaugural Art-In-Film Festival at Tanjong Beach Club on March 7, 14 and 15.

In the documentary, there is a moving scene with Ai and his mother, Gao Ying, in which she tears up as she expresses her concern for him.

At that point, Klayman, 28, had been shooting for about a year. Speaking over the telephone from New York, she says: "That was the earliest moment when I started to feel that 'wow, I can really do this'. I really was trying to have him as this more in-depth character than any other news coverage had achieved at the time."

And it was something that happened out of the blue while she was at Ai's house one day. She recalls: "He got a call and he said 'My mum's coming over', then she walked in the door. It was spur of the moment and it ends up being such a powerful scene."

Her patient, fly-on-the-wall approach has paid off.

Klayman first met Ai, 55, in December 2008 in Beijing while she was living in China producing TV and radio features for National Public Radio, among others. She filmed a short video for his show New York Photographs 1983-1993 at Beijing's Three Shadows Photography Art Centre.

Her interest was piqued because she had been in China for two years after graduating from Brown University in 2006 and had never met anyone quite like him.


Port Moody, Canada

#8 Feb 26, 2013
She muses that there is a key reason why he is able to wear his different hats so well. She says: "He is able to connect with so many people even when he's talking about very high-level kind of ideas or political ideas. He's always trying to communicate it in the most basic, direct and engaging way and humour is a really big weapon in his arsenal."

While Ai himself was readily accessible, the challenges of trying to make the documentary were still myriad. They ranged from logistical - "his life takes place all over the world" - to telling a cohesive story given his multi-faceted life.

There was also the riskiness of following Ai to Chengdu after he was beaten up by the police there in August 2009. He had been trying to testify for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of shoddy construction and student casualties during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Ai returned to file a lawsuit and went around various government offices, constantly updating his Twitter feed as he did so.

Klayman had some of her tapes confiscated but she managed to "keep a good amount of my tapes such that scenes made it into the film".

There is footage of plain-clothes cops trying to take away recorded material from the entourage around Ai, as well as of Ai confronting the man who had detained him in Chengdu a year ago.

When he was later detained for tax evasion by the Chinese authorities in Beijing on April 3, 2011, Klayman found her objectivity as a film-maker being tested.

She says: "During that period, I felt partially a duty to be an advocate for him. I felt what was happening was really unfair and illegal, and obviously I cared."

Still, it was something she wrestled with as she was still working on the movie. Besides, she was more used to being the reporter rather than the person being interviewed.

The film ends with his release on June 22, 2011. It received a special jury prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was also in the running for Best Documentary at the Directors Guild of America Awards. Klayman's boyfriend, Colin Jones, is doing his PhD in Japanese and Chinese history, and is one of the producers of the film.

Her hope for the documentary is both ambitious and idealistic. She wants to "contribute to the global understanding and perception of China on a very human level".

She adds: "My dream is that people all over the world would now know who Ai Weiwei is and maybe have a new inspiration for their art or their activism."

She still keeps in touch with him through phone calls and the last time they spoke was just before Chinese New Year.

She describes his situation in recent months as being "stagnant" and the authorities seem to be deliberately keeping him in a state of uncertainty.

She adds though: "He went to Xiamen to celebrate, which I saw from the pictures he was really happy, and his mood was still really excited about the movie, which was nice."

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Port Moody, Canada

#9 Feb 28, 2013
Ai Weiwei: Chinese artist, troublemaker and political dissident
Posted at 4:29 PM on February 25, 2013 by Marianne Combs

Artist Ai Weiwei isn't afraid to speak his mind.

For instance there's his self-portrait. It features him naked, jumping in the air, holding a llama doll in front of his private parts.

The caption reads in "Grass mud horse covering the middle" which, when said in Chinese, sounds an awful lot like "F*** your mother, Communist Party Central Committee."

Weiwei has publicly criticized the Chinese government for, among other things, the shoddily built schools which collapsed in a 2008 earthquake, killing more than 5,000 students in Sichuan.

In return, the Chinese police have beaten Weiwei, placed him under house arrest, and jailed him for months on end.

Tonight at 10:30pm tpt2 will broadcast Alison Klayman's documentary "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" which won the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize. It profiles this man who continues to challenge oppression with irreverence, and sometimes an almost childlike glee.

The documentary is being broadcast as part of the Independent Lens series.

Port Moody, Canada

#10 Feb 28, 2013
"Grass mud horse covering the middle" which, when said in Chinese, sounds an awful lot like "F*** your mother, Communist Party Central Committee."


Port Moody, Canada

#11 Feb 28, 2013
Undoubtedly China's COOLEST Artist!

The film is great, catch it!
CCP betrays CHINA

Surrey, Canada

#12 Mar 1, 2013
CCP bring SHAME to CHINA wrote:
"Grass mud horse covering the middle" which, when said in Chinese, sounds an awful lot like "F*** your mother, Communist Party Central Committee."
What a noble sentiment expressed with exquisite artistry!

Isn't that something we can all appreciate and embrace?

Surrey, Canada

#13 Mar 2, 2013
CCP bring SHAME to CHINA wrote:
"Grass mud horse covering the middle" which, when said in Chinese, sounds an awful lot like "F*** your mother, Communist Party Central Committee."
Touching, as well, isn't it?
HeyHeyHoHo CCP HasGotToGo

Port Moody, Canada

#14 Mar 11, 2013
China's heavy-handed censors will now have to endure Ai Weiwei's heavy metal
Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:47am EDT By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING (Reuters)- Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei announced plans on Monday to release a heavy-metal album that he said would "express his opinion" just as he does with his art.

The burly and bearded Ai said 81 days in secretive detention in 2011, which sparked an international outcry, triggered his foray into music.

"When I was arrested, they (his guards) would often ask me to sing songs, but because I wasn't familiar with music, I was embarrassed," Ai, 55, said in a telephone interview. "It helped me pass the time very easily.

"All I could sing was Chinese People's Liberation Army songs," Ai said. "After that I thought: when I'm out, I'd like to do something related to music."

A court in September upheld a $2.4 million fine against Ai for tax evasion, paving the way for jail if he does not pay. Ai maintains the charges were trumped up in retaliation for his criticism of the government.

The world-renowned artist has repeatedly criticized the government for flouting the rule of law and the rights of citizens.

Ai's debut album - "Divina Commedia", after the poem by Italian poet Dante - is a reference to the "Ai God" nickname in Chinese that his supporters call him by. "God" in Chinese is "Shen", while "Divina Commedia" in Chinese is "Shen qu".

Two songs are about blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, whose escape from house arrest last April and subsequent refuge in the U.S. Embassy embarrassed China and led to a diplomatic tussle. Continued...
HeyHeyHoHo CCP HasGotToGo

Port Moody, Canada

#15 Mar 11, 2013
...One song on the album is called "Hotel Americana", a dig at the U.S. Embassy for sheltering Chen. Another is "Climbing over the Wall" - a reference to Chen's scaling of the walls in his village to escape, and Chinese Internet users circumventing the "Great Firewall of China", a colloquial term for China's blocking of websites.

Ai said he was not worried about government persecution for his album, which will be out in about three weeks. But he is gloomy about the prospects of it being sold in China, saying he will distribute the album online "because music is also subject to review" in China.

Ai said his time in the recording studio did not mean that he was moving away from art.

"I think it's all the same," he said. "My art is about expressing opinion and communication."

Ai said he was working on a second album, with pop and rock influences, that he hoped people would sing along with.

"You know, I'm a person that's furthest away from music, I never sing," Ai said. "But you'll be surprised. You'll like it."

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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