A walk through China

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Ai Weiwei S.A.C.R.E.D. by Simonas Mitkevičius

There are little things I would wake up for at 5.30am Sunday morning, but Ai Weiwei exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts was totally worth the sacrifice.

Due to the high demand for the last week the gallery was open twenty-four hours a day with talks, performances by opera singers and other activities.

Ai Weiwei is a true anarchist, whose name for some time was forbidden in China. His works are brave statements, symbols of continues discussion between state and society. He speaks openly about his own experiences with the government, about people of China and the censorship, about capitalism and how it tends to ruin what should be viewed as sacred.

The story behind the marble grass with a toddler pushchair and CCTV camera installation tells about the day the artist caught a photographer taking pictures of him and his son. The photographer followed Ai Weiwei during his walks in a park. The artist confronted the agent, who at first pretended to be a tourist, took the film out of the camera and said: no more.

In an opposite corner of the room stands a hand held camera observing the one watching the buggy.

S.A.C.R.E.D (Supper, Accusers, Cleansing, Ritual, Entropy, Doubt) is an installation of six metal containers with a little windows allowing visitors to glimpse inside Ai Weiwei’s life in prison. The scenes are dreadfully realistic: looking or (and) taking pictures gives a guilty feel, a sense of spying and uneasy awareness that someone might catch you.

The exhibition is now over, but if you ever have a chance to visit it, please do.

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