Ai Weiwei has been a design inspiration of mine since I heard of his collaboration on the Bird’s Nest for the Beijing Olympics. His sculptural work has always impressed me, and his special brand of cultural appropriation and play with social codes has always drawn me to his art. I knew Ai Weiwei was radical, and a dissident; I however had no idea the wide range of mediums he uses to implement the political message within his work.
This documentary provided an incredibly eye opening insight into the world or arguably China’s most notorious artist right now. I was fundamentally impressed by Ai Weiwei’s sense of civic and community duty, his ability to use his art to try to create a dialog within his nation and his courage. Ai Weiwei work exists in a world he creates, where each work is connected by social media, and essays and other photos that create a rich network of questions and statements about the nation, human life, and the individual.
It is hard not to have an opinion on his work, as his controversy and the “cult of self” on display in this documentary make every action and art piece immediately asks the viewer to use their own perspective to go deeper within the work. Ai Weiwei’s art and activism is not easy, but it does seem almost universal, and I can see that in the archetypal emotions that the work seems to invoke among myself and my friends.
All in All, great intimate look into one of china’s most dangerous minds, and provides an amazing amount of context as to who, why, how, and for what outcome Ai Weiwei works.