Tate Modern announced today that it is deeply concerned about the current disappearance of the artist Ai Weiwei. The
organisation places artists at the very centre of its activities.
The Unilever Series, Sunflower Seeds is on display until 2 May. To mark its final weekend in the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern will be holding a free public event on Saturday 30 April. Hamish Fulton, the British artist known for his text, photographic and wall pieces, will present an action from 12 noon to 2pm entitled Slowalk (In support of Ai Weiwei). This will be followed by a free screening of Ai Weiwei’s documentary Disturbing the Peace in the Starr Auditorium at 2.30pm.
The Release Ai Weiwei signage will remain on the front of Tate Modern until they have more news regarding the artist’s arrest. The question still remains, where is he being detained? and what are the charges against him?
It has now been nearly four weeks since his disappearance which has created a media frenzy of speculation and rumour. Is he being held for income tax evasion or the depiction of obscene, satirical imagery in his paintings and drawings? We know the latter has enraged the Communist Party for quite sometime. Rights activists and journalists in Hong Kong say one of Ai’s visual critiques of the party crossed the censorship line. The work in question shows the artist naked except for a toy horse concealing his genitals. The caption has a double meaning in Chinese, so millions of internet users have seen the six characters interpreted as: “F . . . k your mother ie. the party central committee.” It was also reported in the Wen Wei Po newspaper, an off shoot of China’s ruling communist party that Weiwei was a bigamist. The allegation is that Mr Ai’s name appears on the birth certificate of a child he is said to have had with a woman who is not his wife. Online comments by members of Beijing’s artist and dissident communities suggested that Mr Ai is the father of the child, but there is no proof that he was ever married to the mother, hence Bigamy is not possible. He was also suspected of spreading “pornography” on the internet. When analyzed they were actually photos of Mr Ai used for promoting his exhibitions.
A number of participants are required for Hamish Fulton’s Slowalk (In support of Ai Weiwei). Those who are interested in volunteering should email firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday 29 April for details about how to participate.