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 Ai Weiwei, Lego Donations, Xi Jinping
Photo Feature: Ai Weiwei The Lego Donations Begin To Come In - ArtLyst Article image

Photo Feature: Ai Weiwei The Lego Donations Begin To Come In

29-10-2015
 
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Lego fans have now come to the rescue of the dissident Chinese artist, after Ai Weiwei reported that the Danish toy manufacturer Lego had turned down a request by his Beijing studio for a large order of the plastic model-making building blocks, on political grounds.

Image: The first collection point outside Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: aiww/Instagram.

The snub by Lego - which may have to do with a contract between the British firm Merlin Entertainments, who intend to open a ‘Legoland' park in Shanghai announced on Chinese president Xi Jinping’s State visit to the UK last week - prompted the Royal Academy of Arts to issue an appeal to Ai's supporters to donate their own Lego bricks to the cause.

Image: The first collection point outside Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: aiww/Instagram.

Using a second-hand BMW 5 series sedan as an official collection point outside the gallery – where spare bricks can be tossed through an open sunroof - parked in the RA courtyard. The popular toy company said we “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.” The artist had posted on Instagram, stating Lego had refused their bulk order in September.

Image: The first collection point outside Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing on Monday, looking through the sun-roof. Photograph: aiww/Instagram.

Ai Weiwei added: “As a powerful corporation, Lego is an influential cultural and political actor in the globalised economy with questionable values. Lego’s refusal to sell its product to the artist is an act of censorship and discrimination.”

On Monday, it was announced that “in response to Lego's refusal and the overwhelming public response, Ai Weiwei has now decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and ‘political art.'" We at Artlyst are looking forward to the results!

Lead image: The artist posted a 'Duchampian' bowl of lego, signed 'R.Mutt, 2015' on his Instagram page, stating: "Everything is awesome". Photograph: aiww/Instagram.


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