“To protect the right of expression is the central part of an artist's activity. ... In China many essential rights are lacking, and I wanted to remind people of this."
AI WEIWEI is a Chinese conceptual artist, curator, architectural designer, cultural and social commentator and activist. Born in Beijing, his father was Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Cultural Revolution and sent off to a labor camp in Xinjiang with his wife. Ai Weiwei also spent five years there.
Wei lived in New York for over ten years, where he studied at Parsons School of Design. Back in Beijing, he helped establish the experimental artists' East Village and published a series of three books about this new generation of artists: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997).
Notable projects include (but are not limited to): In 2000, he co-curated the notorious art exhibition "Fuck Off" with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China. In 2000, Ai Weiwei moved to Caochangdi where he built a compound of houses and opened his studio REAL/FAKE. In 2006, Ai Weiwei and HHF Architects designed a private residence in Columbia County, New York for collectors Christopher Tsai and André Stockamp; according to the New York Times, the house, which was completed in 2008, is "extraordinarily refined" and is designed to incorporate a large contemporary Chinese art collection.