Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

Life is in Danger Every Day

In this powerful interview Chinese artist Ai Weiwei talks about his art and his life and explains why he fights the Chinese system even though he is sometimes afraid: "I don't believe people who say they are not scared, even if you put them in prison."

"I'm influenced by my father's spirit, to speak out the truth and pay the consequences, and always stand on the part of the majority of the people, and not the power, not the government." Ai Weiwei (b.1957) talks about how he was influenced by his father and why he feels that fighting the Chinese system is necessary. There are many dictatorships and authoritarian societies in the world today, because they are the result of basic human behavioral patterns, Weiwei says. He also talks about how he escaped China and went to New York, but decided to return after 12 years; how he works with Chinese cultural tradition in his art, and how he imagines the future of China.

Ai Weiwei's work can also be seen at the German Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. He has contributed with a sculpture of 886 antique stools that are arranged in interlocking arches. Ai Weiwei was unable to attend the Venice Biennale - where he also has two other installations - as the Chinese authorities denied him a visa.

Ai Weiwei was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in December 2010.

Camera: Marie Friis Forchhammer.
Edited by: Martin Kogi
Produced by: Martin Kogi and Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2012

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Ed Atkins

    Something is Missing

    Ed Atkins is considered one of the most unsettling contemporary artists – as well as one of the most exciting. In this video, the young British artist shares how he works from written texts, and why melancholy is at the centre of his animated digital videos.

  • Louisa Gagliardi

    Longing for Something Else

    “Art is amazing because it’s in a way unnecessary, but extremely necessary as a testimony of its time.” Let us introduce you to a rising star of painting, Louisa Gagliardi, who creates her surreal work digitally and adds layers of paint to the printed image.

  • Hannah Levy

    A Design Purgatory

    “I wonder if the reason why people want to touch it is that they’re in some way attracted to it, or if they’re repulsed by it.” Meet the young artist Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.

  • Dora Budor

    Acting Things

    “I want to use art as a field where I can explore parallel scenarios.” Dora Budor makes complex sculptures and interactive installations inspired by cinematic metaverse and scientific research. Join us as we visit the young Croatian artist in her studio.

  • Ian Cheng

    A Portal to Infinity

    Watch Ian Cheng, a rising star on the art scene, talk about his trilogy of animated live simulation works – ‘Emissaries’ – which work like a never-ending video game in real time: “It was a process that was on-going as life is on-going.”

  • Yona Friedman

    Advice to the Young

    What piece of advice would a renowned 94-year-old architect offer young architects? Find out in this short video, where Yona Friedman argues that architects must always adapt to the context and work for the average user.

  • Jan Gehl

    How to Build a Good City

    “We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.” Meet the 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl, who for more than fifty years has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people “re-conquer the city.”

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.