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

  • Chigozie Obioma

    Reading From ’The Fishermen’

    “Those the Gods have chosen to destroy, they inflict with madness,” says an Igbo proverb. Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma reads from his novel ’The Fishermen,” a tale of fate and brotherly love.

  • Nell Zink

    Reading From ‘Mislaid’

    A white lesbian woman escapes her marriage to a gay college professor and starts a life as an African-American single mother in the rural Virginia of the 1960s. Sounds intriguing? American writer Nell Zink reads from her 2015 novel ‘Mislaid.’

  • Clemens Setz

    When and Where I Write

    Austrian writer Clemens Setz says he is “very vulnerable” in the early hours of the morning and cuts off all incoming noise from the outside world. Those are “the perfect working hours” for him. Find out why in this short video.

  • Claudio Magris

    Europe and the Open Sea

    “The Mediterranean Sea is becoming a frontier and not a liquid bridge,” says Claudio Magris, leading cultural philosopher of our time. But the sea is many things: bearer of history, great discoveries and the love for his late wife.

  • William Kentridge

    on 'The Refusal of Time'

    How can we get a hold of time with our body and mind? This question is the crux of South African artist William Kentridge’s immersive installation ’The Refusal of Time.’ Join the artist for a detailed tour of his pulsing, breathtaking work.

  • Mette Winckelmann

    Woman to Woman

    ”You must evaluate whether the system you’re part of could be effectuated differently.” Meet artist Mette Winckelmann, who believes that abstract painting communicates deeper than language, and explore her visual take on gender politics.

  • 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.

  • Adam Caruso

    Novelty is nonsense

    "The European city is one of the great human inventions!” Adam Caruso advocates building with a deep sense of history and tradition. Meet the architect behind the award-winning Tate Britain conversion and numerous Gagosian galleries.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”