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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DELVOYE RISKS “TROUBLE” WITH OFFER TO AL WEIWEI


Delvoye risks “trouble” with offer to Ai Weiwei
Chinese artist’s assistants warn of reprisals if he accepts invitation to rebuild wrecked Shanghai studio in Ghent

By Cristina Ruiz. From News, Issue 229, November 2011
Published online: 03 November 2011

The artist Wim Delvoye has invited Ai Weiwei to recreate in Belgium the Shanghai studio that was demolished by the Chinese authorities in January.

Delvoye is planning a sculpture park in the grounds of a manor house outside Ghent, and says he would like Ai to rebuild the studio there. The Belgian artist bought the house and the 50 acres of land surrounding it three years ago. Ai visited shortly afterwards.

“Weiwei is very, very impressed [by the house] and I’m actually offering it to him. He has first choice to make work for the place or even live there. I gave him carte blanche,” Delvoye says.

According to Delvoye, Ai was planning to design a guest house for the sculpture park when he was arrested in China in April.

“While he was [detained], I was talking to his family,” Delvoye says. “Instead of doing a guest house, I suggested [rebuilding] the studio that they broke down in Shanghai. Weiwei has kept all the pieces. He was planning to do an installation with them, but [rebuilding the studio] would be a very mythological work and also a very autobiographical one.”

Ai, who is an architect and designer as well as an artist, had been building the studio for two years. He intended to use it as an education centre and a site for artists in residence.


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