July 23nd, 2015

Ai Weiwei, Chinese Artist and Provocateur, Is Given Back His Passport 

艾未未重新获得护照,计划赴德国

By: Austin Ramzy 王霜舟               Source: New York Times        Date: 23/7/2015

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HONG KONG — The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said he was given back his passport on Wednesday after being barred from traveling abroad since he was detained in 2011 in Beijing.

“Today, I received a passport,” he wrote on Twitter and Instagram, along with a photograph that showed him holding the burgundy-colored Chinese travel document.

Mr. Ai, who was a design consultant on the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing and exhibited his sculptural installation “Sunflower Seeds” at the Tate Modern in London, was detained in 2011 while trying to fly to Hong Kong from Beijing. He was held and interrogated for 81 days and later prosecuted on a charge of tax evasion. A court ruled against him and said his studio owed $2.4 million in penalties and back taxes.

He has said the case against him was retaliation for his political activism, including his memorializing the thousands of children who died in schools that collapsed during a 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province.

In addition to being unable to travel outside China, he was barred from holding shows in the country. His works were also removed from group exhibitions in Shanghai last year. But last month, he was allowed to open his first solo exhibition in China, an indication that the restrictions on him had begun easing.

Mr. Ai, 57, said he planned to travel to Germany soon. He has a studio in Berlin, and his son, Ai Lao, 6, has lived in the country for the past year with the boy’s mother. He said he also planned to get a medical examination. He underwent emergency brain surgery there in 2009 after he was hit in the head by a police officer in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

“I will apply for a visa, and I will take a trip as soon as I get a visa,” he said.

He said he was looking forward to arranging overseas art shows on site. Last week, the Royal Academy of Arts in London began a fund-raising drive to install eight of Mr. Ai’s reconstructions of dead trees.

Mr. Ai also turned his years without a passport into an art project, filling the basket of his bicycle, which was locked outside his studio in the Caochangdi district of Beijing, with flowers each morning. He posted the photographs online, and then reposted images of flowers that supporters had directed to him. He noted that Wednesday was his 600th day of placing flowers since he began the project in 2013.

香港——中国艺术家艾未未说,当局周三把他的护照还给了他。自从2011年在北京机场被扣留之后,当局一直禁止他出国旅行。

“今天,我拿到了护照。”艾未未在TwitterInstagram上写道的,还显示了一张他手持枣红色中国护照的照片。

艾未未曾为北京被称为“鸟巢”的体育场担任设计顾问,还曾在伦敦泰特现代美术馆(Tate Modern)展出他的装置艺术作品《葵花籽》(Sunflower Seeds),2011年他打算从北京飞往香港时,在北京机场被扣留。他被关押、审讯了81天,后被当局指控逃税。法院做出对他不利的裁决,判处他的工作室缴纳罚款及欠税共计1522万元人民币(当时约合240万美元)。

艾未未表示,逃税案是对他政治活动的报复,包括针对他纪念在2008年四川大地震中,因教室倒塌而死亡的数千学生的活动。

他在周三表示,当局对为什么发给他护照未做任何解释。“我只能说,为什么不给呢?他们在过去四年中已经答应还回护照。现在,他们终于把护照还给我了,”他在接受电话采访时说。“他们过去总是说仍在处理之中,让我耐心等待。”

护照被没收意味着艾未未不得不远程安排他在国外的展览,包括在华盛顿史密森学会的赫什霍恩博物馆暨雕塑园(Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)的展览,以及在旧金山湾原来的监狱恶魔岛(Alcatraz)的展览。

除了无法到中国境外旅行之外,他还被禁止在国内举办个人展览。他的作品也被从去年上海举办的艺术家群体展览上拿掉。但上个月,他获许在中国举办首次个人展览,这表明对他的限制已经开始放松。

现年57岁的艾未未说,他打算不久前往德国。他在柏林有一间工作室,他6岁的儿子艾老在过去一年中一直和母亲一起住在德国。艾未未说,他还计划在德国做一次体检。2009年,他曾在那里接受紧急开颅手术,之前,中国西南部城市成都的警察打过他的头部。

“我将去申请签证,一拿到签证我就走,”他说。

艾未未说,他期待着能在现场安排海外艺术展览。上周,伦敦皇家艺术学院(Royal Academy of Arts in London)为安装八棵艾未未重建的死树,开始了一次筹款活动。

艾未未也把他没有护照的年月变成一个艺术项目,每天早上,在位于北京草场地艺术区的工作室外,他把一束鲜花放到锁在门外的自行车车篮中,把拍下的照片贴到网上,然后他会转贴支持者发来的鲜花图片。他指出,自从2013年开始该项目以来,周三是他摆放鲜花的第600天

王霜舟(Austin Ramzy)是《纽约时报》记者。

翻译:Cindy Hao