in Interviews | 01 OCT 10
Featured in
Issue 134

Questionnaire: Ai Weiwei

With his current show at the Royal Academy (until 13 December), Ai Weiwei’s answers to the frieze ‘Questionnaire’, from Issue 134, October 2010

in Interviews | 01 OCT 10

MRI scan showing Ai Weiwei's cerebral haemorrhage as a result of police brutality in Chengdu, China, 12 August 2009.

What are you reading?
I don’t read anything besides the news.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
My early memory of art is of revolutionary posters. They had a very strong impact on me as a child.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?
I have no favourite piece of art. I am more interested in the artist than in the work.

What should change? What should stay the same?
Everything should change and everything should stay the same.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?
Imagination is part of what I do now. If I didn’t do what I am doing today I would have no imagination.

What is your favourite title of an art work?

What music are you listening to?
I never listen to music.

What do you like the look of?
I like the look of anything. Everything is interesting to me.

What images keep you company in the space where you work?
Normally we don’t have any images in our working space – with one exception: a list of the names and birthdates of 5,000 students who died in the earthquake in Sichuan in 2008 is posted on one wall.

Ai Weiwei is an artist who lives in Beijing, China. His ongoing 'Citizen Investigation' project, researching information about the students who died in the Sichuan earthquake on 12 May 2008, led to works shown as part of 'So Sorry' at the Haus der Kunst, Munich in 2009. This year he had a solo exhibition, 'Barely Something', at the Museum DKM in Duisburg, Germany. His commission for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall will open on 12 October 2010. He is Artistic Director of the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011.