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