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Basic data

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese conceptual artist, sculptor, and activist. Weiwei works with various artistic media, including sculpture, installation, photography, architecture, and social media. He is known for his politically engaged art, which often draws attention to social ills, human rights violations, and political oppression in China.

  • Born: August 28, 1957
  • Place of birth: Beijing, China
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Studied at: Beijing Film Academy; Parsons School of Design
  • Era: Contemporary art
  • Stylistic direction: Excessivism

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Ai Weiwei was born on August 28, 1957 in Beijing, China. He studied at the Beijing Film Academy and at the Parsons School of Design in New York. Weiwei began his artistic career as a member of the "Stars Group," an avant-garde group of artists in the late 1970s.

A central theme in Ai Weiwei's work is his engagement with the Chinese government and its restrictive policies. He has denounced corruption and censorship in China and has been a champion of freedom of expression and human rights. In his art, he often uses everyday objects and materials to create meaning and draw attention to complex issues. He combines traditional Chinese craftsmanship with modern materials and techniques to create new forms of artistic expression.

Despite state repression, Ai Weiwei continues to advocate for change. He uses social media such as Twitter and Instagram to spread his messages and draw attention to grievances. He is also a filmmaker and has made documentaries about China and his personal experiences with the government. These films shed light on the country's complex social and political realities.



  • 10.09.2023 – 07.01.2024 #nichtmuedewerden - Felix Nussbaum und künstlerischer Widerstand heute – Museumsquartier Osnabrück.
  • 04.06.2023 – 16.07.2023 Zustandsbericht – Kunstraum Potsdam.
  • 19.04.2023 – 24.09.2023 World Classroom: Contemporary Art Through School Subjects – Mori Art Museum.
  • 07.04.2023 – 30.07.2023 World Classroom: Contemporary Art Through School Subjects – Design Museum, London.
  • 21.10.2022 – 09.04.2023 Printmaking in the Twenty-First Century - DIA Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • 05.09.2020 – 24.05.2021 THERE IS ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS - SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen.
  • 25.06.2021 – 20.09.2021 Unflattening - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.



  • 2022: Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association.
  • 2019: Frank-Schirrmacher-Prize, Zurich.
  • 2018: National Arts Awards.
  • 2017: Hrant Dink Foundation Award.
  • 2015: Ambassador of Conscience, Amnesty International.
  • 2012: Václav-Havel-Prize of HRF.
  • 2010: „Das Glas der Vernunft“ Citizen's Award, Kassel.



  • Human Flow, Documentary, Ai Weiwei, 140 min, Germany 2017.
  • Ai Weiwei. Never Sorry, Documentary, Alison Klayman, 91 min, USA 2012.



  • Ai Weiwei. In search of humanity, Dieter Buchhart, Elsy Lahner, Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Munich 2022.
  • Ai Weiwei. Roots, Greg Hilty, Berlin 2019.
  • Ai Weiwei, Hans Werner Holzwarth, Cologne 2016.
  • Ai Weiwei. Disposition, Maurizio Bortolotti, Cologne 2014.
  • Ai Weiwei spricht: Interviews mit Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Munich 2011.
  • Ai Weiwei. Architecture, Caroline Klein, Cologne 2010.


Own writings

  • Manifest ohne Grenzen, Ai Weiwei, Hamburg 2019.
  • 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, Ai Weiwei, New York City 2021.