Ai Wei Wei may be China’s best known artist. I say that only because I know his work, from the Tate Modern in London and the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney.
I was very pleased to see him included in what’s become for us an unmissable biennial Amsterdam event, Art Zuid.
From May to September the Vondelpark, the Apollolaan, the Museumplein and other sites in our Amsterdam district, Oud Zuid (‘Old South’) become open air sculpture museums.
Tucked away by the entrance to the Beatrixpark we found the Kunst Kapel (Art Chapel), a small circular space above a pleasant cafe restaurant.
The sun streaming in from the central dome was perfect for lighting Ai Wei Wei’s work, Forever.
Ai Wei Wei achieved fame (some would say ‘notoriety’) for his flamboyant work and political activism, culminating in his arrest and detention in 2011. No charges were laid, though Chinese authorities muttered the words ‘tax evasion’.
I see Ai is still regarded as a top tier professional blackjack player (thanks, wikipedia). He was artistic consultant for the design of the Beijing Olympics ‘Birds’s Nest’ stadium, though he later withdrew and distanced himself from the project, and made no secret of his anti-Olympics views.
Whatever you think of his work, it will always attract attention. It deserves to.