Art Forum: “Ai Weiwei is the latest artist to make Berlin into a second home. As Monopol and dpa report, the Chinese star––a staunch critic of the Chinese government––is planning a partial move to the German capital to pursue his activities in Europe. But the partial move is not entirely a positive one. “I want to be in Europe as little as possible,” said the fifty-three-year-old artist. “But I would have no other choice if my life or my existence were to be somehow threatened.” For the past few months, a studio space has been under preparation in the district Oberschöneweide. “The atmosphere in Berlin is good,” said the artist, “and it’s comparatively inexpensive. I have a lot of work in Germany and Europe, so I need a working space.”
According to an additional report in the Berliner Zeitung, Ai will be setting up his space inside four halls measuring a total of 16,000 square-feet in the former AEG premises. There, he plans to open an exhibition on April 29, during the upcoming Gallery Weekend event. Ai has recently had trouble showing work in China. A retrospective planned for the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing’s 798 artist district was canceled, due to political pressure. His newly built studio in Shanghai was destroyed last January. “It’s true that the possibilities for artistic expression are very small in China,” said Ai. “But I’m not planning to emigrate to Germany. China is the place I’m most familiar with, and, in the end, I’m a Chinese citizen. I will do my best to improve the working conditions there.””
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