Without warning, Ai Weiwei and his assistants faced a literal wrecking ball earlier this month.
Workers hustled to save as many art pieces are they could, but fact of the matter was many works were lost under the rubble. Weiwei posted the infuriating event on Instagram, memorializing some of his works unique to this location, a huge car-parts factory turned into artist’s space.
Ai Weiwei is a beloved artist in China (he even designed the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics) …though his outspoken views against China’s policies have left him a bit unpalatable to the authorities. From 2011-2015, his passport was confiscated in order to prevent him from leaving the country. Upon getting it back, he fled to Berlin, Germany, where he now resides in “self-imposed exile”.
It is not certain if the government was politically targeting Weiwei…locals claim the area was scheduled for demolition in a sweep to gentrify the area. However, this wouldn’t be a first…the artist’s Shanghai studio was also demolished in 2011, prior to his house arrest.
Zuoyou studio was home to many iconic works, memories, and achievements…there will be nothing similar to the space come time.
Young construction workers driving the demolition vehicles felt no remorse tearing down the historical building, according to Nation Multimedia: “… I’m just an ant, what say do I have?” a worker explained to press, “And anyway, I don’t really know what you mean by art.”