It has now been officially revealed, that the government in China has revoked the business licence of artist Ai Weiwei’s internationally recognised company, Fake Cultural Development Ltd. The action has been taken as punishment for failing to re-register the firm.
Mr Ai has told the BBC in an interview, that he would appeal, stating that he was being scapegoated for criticising the government. This highly controversial action has wrapped the artist in red tape, by making it impossible to re-register the firm. The Chinese police confiscated all relevant documents when the artist was arrested last spring. He was held in an undisclosed location making it impossible to submit the renewal certificates, in time for the deadline. The penalty follows a failed bid to challenge a tax evasion fine imposed on the firm earlier this year. He was fined 15m yuan ($2.4m, £1.5m) in 2011. The internationally respected artist lost an appeal against the fine in July and a Beijing court last week upheld the decision. His lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, said that it was not clear when the firm would be closed or how this would affect the tax fine.
Ai Weiwei is widely considered to be one of the most significant cultural figures of his generation in China and internationally. He successfully occupies multiple roles as a conceptual artist, architect, curator, designer, film-maker, publisher and activist, using a variety of formal languages with both traditional and innovative methods of production, Ai links the past with the present and explores the geopolitical, economic and cultural realities affecting the world with humour and compassion.
The artist stated; ” I have lived with political struggle since birth. As a poet, my father tried to act as an individual, but he was treated as an enemy of the state. My detention was an extreme condition for any human to endure. Many, including my family and the people who know me and care about the incident, were frustrated by the lack of an explanation or reason. Some of my life experiences have been tragic and painful, but I value them all. Going through these events allowed me to rethink my art and the activities necessary for an artist. I re-evaluated different forms of expression and how considerations of aesthetics should relate to morality and philosophy. These reflections give new strength to my work. I am able naturally to conceive of works that confront the accepted ethical or aesthetic views. I’ve always believed it is essential for contemporary artists to question established assumptions and challenge beliefs. This has never changed”.