Ben Luke talks to Ai Weiwei about his influences, from art to literature, film and music, and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work. Ai, born in Beijing in 1957, is an artist who needs little introduction; he is among the most famous artists in the world, principally due to the activism which led him to be incarcerated in his native China for months without charge in 2011. Since his release he has not let up and he continues to be a thorn in the Chinese government’s side, relentlessly documenting and publicly speaking out against its attacks on freedom and manifold other human rights abuses. And while this conversation addresses his political activities it also explores his wider work, including the early objects inspired by Marcel Duchamp, his first pieces made with ancient Chinese ceramics, his middle-finger salutes, Study of Perspective, and the huge actions, like Fairytale at Documenta in 2007, for which he has come to be best known. He also answers the questions we ask all our guests, including the ultimate: what is art for?
Content produced by : The Art Newspaper
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