Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says authorities demolished Beijing studio

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says authorities demolished Beijing studio

Workers began demolishing renowned artist Ai Weiwei's Beijing studio on Friday, shattering the windows while many of his works were still inside.

"Today, they started to demolish my studio "zuo you" ('left and right')" without notice, Ai wrote on the image-sharing platform, which is blocked by China's online "Great Firewall".

Ai, who is one of China's best-known artists and government critics, posted a series of videos Saturday showing the crews knocking down the interior and exterior, first breaking windows and then walls as the building turned into a pile of dust and rubble. "Farewell." The defunct auto parts factory is a hanger-size space situated on the outskirts of the city. The video showed wooden boxes and planks inside the building.

One of Ai's assistants, Gang Ra, told the AFP new agency that the rental contract for the building had ended past year but that it "simply wasn't possible" to move out at the time because of the amount of works still present. "There's still so much stuff inside".

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After the destruction began, Ai began posting images of the numerous works that have been created within the space since he has occupied it.

In January 2011, Ai Weiwei had his Shanghai studio unexpectedly razed by the Chinese government, in similar circumstances. At the time, numerous artist's supporters believed that Ai was targeted because of his activism.

In 2011 he was detained for 81 days after being accused of tax evasion, charges that he said were politically motivated. When it was returned to him in 2015, he relocated to Berlin. Ai helped establish the area almost two decades ago.

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