Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist has reported that the Danish toy manufacturer Lego has turned down a request by his Beijing studio’s for a large order of the plastic model-making building blocks, on political grounds.
The artist posted on Instagram Friday evening, stating Lego had refused their bulk order in September. The popular company said we “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works”.
Mr Ai thinks it 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. The visit included an official banquet with the Queen.
The piece by artist, who currently has an exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, would be included in his exhibition planned for the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia later this year.
This is not the first time the Danish toymaker has encountered controversy, last Summer, Lego turned down the opportunity to have journalist Maia Weinstock to create a custom set which celebrated the female justices of the US supreme court on their ‘Ideas Platform’.
It is thought that, the Danish toymaker is moving into the Chinese market as it expands. Growth in the US has slowed down and the company recently reported that Asia was the highest area of growth in their market. Lego has also invested in a new factory facility in Jiaxing, to increase output of the popular toy.
Last year the Lego Movie proved popular in Hong Kong and it is expected to get mainland release over the next year.
FAKE Design: Caochangdi 258, Chaoyang District
100102 Beijing, China
Photo via Instagram Ai Weiwei 2015