The Chinese Communist Party and the artist Ai Weiwei have they finally found a peace agreement? An official newspaper in any case suggested “move on” from the controversy with the dissident, even if it remains private passport.
Ai Weiwei was arrested in April 2011 and imprisoned for 81 days under dubious charges following his vocal opposition to government cover-ups, in particular the deaths of 5,205 school children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. He was later fined $2.4k for alleged tax evasion and his passport was taken away.
Against all expectations, the Chinese authorities, at least tacitly, allowed the artist to inaugurate protest his first solo exhibition “Ai Weiwei” in June in space 798, a Beijing district dedicated to contemporary art. This exhibition makes no explicit comment about the Chinese government. It includes a reconstruction of an ancestral shrine of the Ming Dynasty. The exhibition was due to open in late May but was pushed back at the request of Chinese authorities to avoid overlapping with the anniversary of Tiananmen Square on 4 June.
The artist said he was pleased to be able to exhibit in his home country again. He told The Art Newspaper: “It is good to show in my own country. I can face the criticisms of artists and other people here. It brings back a piece of the puzzle of reality.”
It shows a wooden pavilion for the worship of ancestors, dating back to the Ming period and originally built in the central province of Jiangxi, Ai bought and reassembled in Beijing. Echoing some of his favorite themes – such as broken ceramics or misappropriation by a contemporary twist to traditional Chinese symbols like the dragon or the lantern, Ai Weiwei offers visitors a reflection on the artistic object through time.