Beijing studio of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who designed Bird’s Nest stadium demolished

Ai Weiwei bid “farewell” to the studio he had used since 2006 after neither he nor his colleagues in Beijing were given any warning before the demolition began. Ai had a falling out with

world Updated: Aug 06, 2018 09:16 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Ai Weiwei,Chinese artist,Dissident
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's studio being demolished in Beijing on Saturday. (AP Photo)

Chinese authorities have demolished dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s studio in northeast Beijing.

Ai, who has been living in Berlin since 2015, released a series of photographs on Instagram showing his studio in a locality called Caochangdi Art District being torn down over the weekend. Bidding “farewell” to the studio he had used since 2006, the 60-year-old artist said that neither he nor his colleagues in Beijing were given any warning before the demolition began.

Ai’s studio in Shanghai was destroyed in 2011.

Gang Ra, one of Ai’s assistants, told the AFP news agency that although the rental contract for the building had ended last year, it “simply wasn’t possible” to move out at the time because of the number of works still present.

Clips released by Ai showed the studio – described by him as an “East German-style socialist factory building”— turning into a heap of bricks and stones with a cloud of dust covering the rubble. The Hindustan Times had interviewed Ai at the same studio in 2012.

Ai Weiwei lived under house arrest in Beijing for four years until 2015, when he was allowed to leave for Germany. (AP photo)

Ai had helped establish the Caochangdi Art District nearly two decades ago, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper reported. In late July, several galleries in the area were asked to relocate to make way for redevelopment, it quoted the Art Newspaper as saying.

The artist lived under house arrest in Beijing for four years until 2015, when he was allowed to leave for Germany. During this time, he was allowed to have visitors but prevented from exiting the country.

Ai had designed the famous Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing but fell out with the authorities soon after.

Ai established a studio in Berlin after moving there in 2015 but announced his plans to move elsewhere in May. He has mostly been working on refugees over the past few years.

“Democracy is the answer,” Ai had told HT when asked about political systems, but added that there was no standard way of zeroing on one particular democratic system practised by one country that could suit all societies.

“That’ll be a problem,” he had said. “There is no standard democracy (but) democracy is the most efficient way; people’s way rather than that of the elite or someone who controls your rights. We are born as individuals, we need to participate, contribute our energy and passion.”

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 08:32 IST