Taiwan To Host Ai Weiwei Show

The move is likely to ruffle feathers in Beijing.

2011-10-22
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china-weiwei-release-305.gif Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei waves to reporters outside his studio in Beijing, June 23, 2011.
AFP

Officials in Taipei have announced that the city will host an exhibition showcasing the work of outspoken Chinese artist and social critic Ai Weiwei next week, risking the wrath of Beijing.

"The Taipei Fine Arts Museum invites a key Chinese ... artist to exhibit every year as their principal artist," municipal government spokesman Zhang Qiqiang told RFA's Mandarin service.

"We have been in touch with Ai Weiwei about arranging an exhibition of his work. Everything has gone very smoothly, and an exhibition of his work will open on Oct. 29 of this year at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum," Zhang said.

The move is likely to ruffle feathers in Beijing, which hit out at international criticism over Ai's 80-day disappearance earlier this year.

After his release, the government said Ai's detention was linked to investigations into alleged tax evasion at his company.

Taiwan has been governed separately from China since the Nationalist (KMT) government of Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong's communists on the mainland.

While tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased considerably in recent years with the Beijing-friendly stance of KMT president Ma Ying-jeou, China maintains it will use force if the island declares independence.

Art projects

Ai, who is represented by London's Lisson Art Gallery, has been concentrating on his art projects since his release from detention in June.

Zhang said it was unclear whether he would be given permission to leave China to attend the exhibition in person, however.

"We have invited Ai Weiwei to attend the opening ceremony of the exhibition at the museum," he said on Friday. "So far, Ai Weiwei hasn't been able to give us a definite response."

Ai has previously been refused permission to leave China on professional engagements.

But Zhang added that Ai's wife Lu Qing plans to make a personal trip to Taiwan in early November.

The exhibit, titled "Ai Weiwei is absent," will run through Jan. 19, 2012.

Museum staff were reluctant to reveal details of the exhibition ahead of the opening ceremony, but said that much of the set-up work was already under way.

Reported by Li Tong for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Anonymous says:
Nov 02, 2011 03:13 AM

Natually Ai Weiwei is absent. He's living under a regime governed by an authoritarian Leninist special interest group that rules by fiat and that can strip any citizen of his rights without having to go through any legal procedures.

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