Born 1957, Beijing, China.
Lives and works in Beijing, China.
«Since his emergence as an artist in the late 1970s, Ai Weiwei has been a primer mover in the Beijing art scene, combining his roles as artist, architect, and instigator to create new institutions as well as new art forms. Son of the renowned poet Ai Qing - who was celebrated during the early Communist period but then sent to Xinjiang in northwest China during the Cultural Revolution - Ai Weiwei grew up well aware of the irrationality of political movements and social upheavals. His family returned to Beijing in 1978 where he attended the Beijing Film Institute and helped organize The Star group, the first artist collective to present avant-garde art in China. In 1981, he moved to the United States where he immersed himself in experimental art movements, from Dadaism and Fluxus through Andy Warhol and East Village scene, beginning to incorporate these ideas into his work. Upon returning to China in 1993, Ai Weiwei soon became a central figure in Beijing's own East Village, embarking on publishing a series of texts, Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995) and Grey Cover Book (1997) that featured interviews and texts by the artists of this mostly underground scene. Similarly, he founded China Art & Archive Warehouse, the first non-commercial venue in China to showcase conceptual art projects. On the occasion of the 2000 Shanghai Biennial, Ai Weiwei achieved his most notorious curatorial project, Fuch Off!, a sattelite show (co-curated with Feng Boyi) pached with critical and disturbing art works that achieved as much attention as the biennial itself.» Barbara Pollack