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 Ai Weiwei, Stockholm Impact Award
Ai Weiwei Creates And Presents Stockholm Impact Award - ArtLyst Article image

Ai Weiwei Creates And Presents Stockholm Impact Award

19-11-2015
 
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The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has collaborated with the Stockholm Film Festival for the third consecutive year - except, of course - it is the first time that the artist has been able to attend in person.

Ai sent the art installation The Chair of Nonattendance to the film festival in 2013 as a reflection of his absence as a jury member. In 2014 the artist sent two ice sculptures depicting the lions that guard Beijing’s Forbidden City. The works were then installed at a central Stockholm square and slowly melted away.

But this year the artist was finally present as part of the jury that awarded Indian-born Leena Yadav the Stockholm Impact Award, which launched this year and aims to support "headstrong filmmakers who are not afraid to bring up burning topics in contemporary society". Yadav will receive a prize designed by the artist as well as SEK 1 million, the largest prize sum of any film award in the world.

"I am very privileged to be part of the Stockholm Film Festival, especially this Impact series,” stated Ai Weiwei, adding that the festival “has always been in the frontline in choosing interesting films which reflect our condition in aesthetics, in filmmaking, and also in social concerns, which is very important today.”

The artist continued: "We see that the world has been through a very fast change, and there are so many things, so many questions that need to be answered. As filmmakers and artists, we always try to use our best effort to achieve freedom of speech in order to give new insights into our daily life and on the issues that relate to our human condition.”

Ai sent the art installation The Chair of Nonattendance to the film festival in 2013 as a reflection of his absence as a jury member. In 2014 the artist sent two ice sculptures depicting the lions that guard Beijing’s Forbidden City. The works were then installed at a central Stockholm square and slowly melted away.

This year Ai brought with him a sculpture that Yadav will receive on Friday. The sculpture is a reference to the Chinese internet meme "Grass Mud Horse", a made-up creature that is widely used as a form of symbolic defiance of China’s internet censorship. "Grass Mud Horse" is a play on Mandarin words that actually translate literally as “f*ck your mother”. It is one of 10 creatures created in a hoax article whose names form obscene puns.

Photo: P A Black © 2015


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