An activist and a maverick, jailed numerous times by the Chinese government, he continues to push the envelope, becoming as much a political as an artistic figure. His works have made the rounds of most of the famous galleries and museums of the world, and much of what he produces, and says, is instantly disseminated by the social media.

Weiwei is adept at using the www platform (he has over 187,000 followers despite being banned in China), and despite the constant threat of an arrest, continues to speak his mind. He does it through his art, but also through his public and written pronouncements. Weiwei-isms is a collection of the artists quotations offering musings on art, politics and contemporary Chinese reality. The selection demonstrates Weiwei’s elegant simplicity that also marks his art. They were chosen from articles, tweets, and interviews given by the artist, and are organized into six categories: freedom of expression; art and activism; government, power, and moral choices; the digital world; history, the historical moment, and the future; and personal reflections. Together, these quotes span some of the most revealing moments of Ai Weiwei’s eventful and prolific career–from his risky investigation into student deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to his arbitrary arrest in 2011–providing a window into the mind of one of the world’s most electrifying and courageous contemporary artists. Some say Weiwei’s pocket-sized ‘little black book’ is a counterpoint to Mao’s infamous Little Red Book, and that was clearly his intention. His comments are insightful and witty, tinged with a sense of humour, and showing the artist’s keen understanding of the Chinese Communist system he is so masterful in navigating.

«Overturning police cars is a super-intense workout. It’s probably the only sport enjoy,» he says in a 2009 interview.

Weiwei-isms by Ai Weiwei is now available in English, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.

Weiwei-isms
Ai Weiwei
Edited by Larry Warsh
FIRST EDITION, January 2013, ISBN: 9780691157665, 120 pp.

For more, click here(lien externe) to order a copy of Weiwei-isms in English.

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