19
Jan
08

The artist as an angry man

In 2003 Ai (Wei Wei) was asked to collaborate with the celebrated Swiss architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron to enter the design competition for the Olympic national stadium. Their dazzling and technically challenging proposal for a sinuous steel-lattice stadium, which resembled for locals a giant bird’s nest, won. With the stadium now largely finished — it is undergoing a fitout for the top-secret opening ceremony and remains under tight security — Ai now says he will boycott the opening ceremony. He is revolted at the way the Chinese Government is using the 2008 Games to whip up a false nationalism that conceals the abuses of a one-party state.

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