Who is Ai Weiwei?

Ai Weiwei: 64 years old, son of a poet who was retaliated against during the Cultural Revolution, professional blackjack player, friend of Allen Ginsberg, currently living in Lisbon, after visiting almost all European cities, "enfant terrible" of successive Chinese governments , the “most famous artist in the world” according to The Art Newspaper (after an exhibition in Brazil that was visited by 1.1 million people).

Comparing the current situation to 1984 and Orwell's Ministry of Truth, Ai Weiwei says things like:

Memory is as important to people as it is to the state, which is why the Chinese government cannot deal with its own history. The foundation of authoritarian power is based on distorting the truth, so if the truth is fully revealed, the authoritarian regime simply disappears like smoke. My book will not be able to be published in China, butI will be able to publish it in Taiwan, the same language is spoken. If China accepts my book one day, it will mean that it is the day of liberation.”

Ai Weiwei for an interview in El País

However, his detractors accuse him of being more of a character than an artist. That his works reflect only commonplaces; focus solely on current issues that can move a majority of the white middle class who want to feel progressive and supportive. He is accused of not really being an artist that provokes, but of having a work acceptable to all well-thinking European and North American society, in short: of being much more famous for his controversial relations with the Chinese government than for the artistic importance of his work. construction site.

Ai Weiwei "the most famous artist in the world" as he is considered, after one of his multiple imprisonments published this video clip "Dumbass" ("Fool"):

Ai Weiwei – "Dumbass" ("Fool")


In any case, and perfectly complying with Oscar Wilde's phrase: "... let them talk about me, even if it's good...", Ai Weiwei is a luxury exile. His works are sold for up to a few million euros, his life is very far from that of the refugees he denounces.

Ai Weiwei es un exiliado de lujo

Ai Weiwei, how being the most famous artist in the world, are you considered a threat to successive Chinese governments?

Next, we leave an article that details the ins and outs of the hectic life of the contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei and the conflicts that have led him to consider the Chinese Government a real threat.


The controversy over Ai Weiwei is part of the very current discussion about "political art" versus "non-political art", which seems to be spreading everywhere. If a decade ago only the big museums considered this dichotomy, it seems that today even the programmer of a small municipal gallery in a town of 10,000 inhabitants has to choose between exhibiting something that could bother the local society (including politicians) or focusing in “non-political art”, a category that will soon have a place on Wikipedia.

ai weiwei el artista más famoso del mundo
Ai Weiwei considered "the most famous artist in the world" according to The Art Newspaper.

We assume that all art is political, as it can inspire reflections or states of mind in those who receive it. Even independently of the will of the artist… Is there really a border between “political art” and “non-political”?