Ai Weiwei chooses Portugal for new show, home

Lisbon, Portugal (AP) — Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has the biggest show in his career, in Portugal, where he fell in love.

A new exhibition of world-renowned visual artists, Rapture, will take place on Friday in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.

Ai arrived in Portugal about two years ago and said he has no plans to return to Germany or the United Kingdom since leaving China in 2015.

The artist said on Thursday that he “feels great” about Portugal. “This is where I’m staying.”

The 2018 Ai show in São Paulo covered twice as much space as the Lisbon exhibit, but there were few works on display.

“Rapture” houses the Portuguese national rope factory, which began in the 18th century, and is exhibited in a long, low riverside building that now hosts temporary art exhibitions. The Ai show will continue until November 28th.

The 85 works include some of Ai’s iconic works and new works made only in Portugal.

Since 2015, a huge sculpture “Forever Bicycles” using 960 stainless steel bicycles as building blocks stands at the entrance of the building. A human figure is depicted on a 16-meter (52-foot) black inflatable boat, implying an immigrant crisis, but his famous installations, sculptures, videos, and photographs are also in Lisbon.

However, Ai states that most of the works “have never met each other” and appear in the same place for the first time.

Ai was arrested at an airport in Beijing in April 2011 and detained for 81 days without explanation during a broad crackdown on dissenting opinions. He moved to Europe after Chinese authorities returned his passport.

He traveled all over Portugal, visiting craftsmen and manufacturers using traditional Portuguese methods and materials such as marble, textiles, hand-painted tiles and cork.

His experiments resulted in a self-portrait carving of cork, a world map cut out of fabric about 1.5 meters (5 feet) high, a rug 40 meters (130 feet) long, and a marble cylinder. Almost 2 meters (6.5 feet) high.

The show’s Brazilian curator Marcello Dantas says Ai arrived in Portugal for the first time on a plane that landed at 8 am in 2019. (60 miles) Southeast of Lisbon

“I always make decisions with my personal instinct,” Ai said. “It’s cozy here.”

Artists are fascinated by the country because of its relatively slow life, “very open” people, “very acceptable” food and plenty of sunshine.

Ai says that restrictions on movement between COVID-19 pandemics have given him “the most productive time”. In the last year or so, he has three feature films in addition to his artwork. Was produced. He published a book later this year and plans another exhibition this summer in the northern Portuguese city of Porto.

Remaining in Portugal was “probably the best decision I have ever made,” he says.