艾未未 Why is the Western Art World so Quiet About Ai Weiwei?


translation of op-ed on Ai Wei Wei in Chinese Global Times: The Law Will Not Bend For A Maverick    Some countries in the West and human rights organizations …. characterized this matter as deterioration of human rights in China. Ai Weiwei was proclaimed as Chinese human rights fighter In this situation were all the facts are not clear, criticizing Chinese judiciary system and assaulting China with sharp commentary is an indiscreet and hasty insult against the Chinese political framework and a total disregard of the sovereignity of Chinese judiciary system. In the recent years, Ai Weiwei ….likes to live on the edge of the law, doing things that are improper and unclear for common people. … Ai Weiwei likes to go about things in his own way, frequently doing things ” that other people dare not to try” and he gathered around him a number of similiar people. He is well aware that he often operates far away from the red line of Chinese law and perhaps he likes this feeling. … Finding  (one) rebellious figure like Ai Weiwei among 1.3 billion Chinese is a normal thing. In the art, you can emphasize numerous exceptions, but the law on other hand emphasizes restriction and control of unnormal behaviour….. The West is ignoring the complexity of China’s judicial environment and also ignores the complexity of Ai Weiwei’s individual actions. …..Western media and politicians…have erased all of the subtle differences that exist in this world. “Human rights” a basic concept, has been transformed by the west to make it seem like China and its great economic strides are not compatible with social progress. This is a big joke. ….. Ai Weiwei’s personal misfortune, including other such mavericks’ misfortunes cannot simply be put on the same scale as the progress and development of human rights in China. ……History will pass a judgement on the likes of Ai Wei Wei. (People like Ai Weiwei) will have to pay the price for choosing their own special ways. This is the same in every society. China, as whole, is progressing. ….







SPIEGEL spoke with German curator Roger Buergel, who helped Ai Weiwei on his path to stardom, about why artists have remained so passive.


Buergel: I think that most of them are glad to be rid of Ai Weiwei.


Buergel: Ai Weiwei succeeded in bridging the gap between art and politics, the only person to have done so in recent years. He has a monopoly in this respect. ….. Young Western artists are producing works that amount to nothing more than footnotes in art history, and then this Chinese artist appears who takes a totally different approach and makes 98 percent of the art world look very, very old. …..

SPIEGEL: Is Ai Weiwei the last bastion of courage in the art world?

Buergel: We can all imagine what he’s currently going through: endless interrogations, possible torture. But Ai Weiwei isn’t a victim in the classic sense. He was never naïve, he sought out confrontation and tried to drive a wedge into the system.

Interview conducted by Ulrike Knöfel

Your Comment