Ai Weiwei

born 1957

Ai Weiwei, 'Tree' 2010
Tree 2010
© Ai Weiwei
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Biography

Ai Weiwei (Chinese: 艾未未; pinyin: Ài Wèiwèi,  English pronunciation ; born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese Contemporary artist and activist. His father's side's original surname is Jiang (蔣). Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-dreg schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes".

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Artwork
Artwork
Artwork
Video

Ai Weiwei on Beijing | Artist Cities

We explore the city of Beijing through the eyes of its most famous detained resident Ai Weiwei

Video

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower seeds

Ai Weiwei, one of China’s leading conceptual artists and an outspoken social commentator, has carpeted Tate Modern's Turbine ...

Press Release

Tate Acquires Ai Weiwei’s sculpture, Sunflower Seeds

2012
Press Release announcing Tate's Acquisition of Ai Weiwei’s sculpture, Sunflower Seeds
Blog

Work of the week, 5 March 2012: Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei

It’s hard to imagine the scale of this work without being in a room with it. Even the numbers ...

Tate Etc.

The artist as activist

The Chinese artist has become one of the most important cultural commentators of his generation. On the eve of the ...

Tate Paper

Lawrence Alloway’s Spatial Utopia: Contemporary Photography as ‘Horizontal Description’

The mobility of art was a concept central to British critic Lawrence Alloway’s understanding of the role of visual ...