Are individual freedom and free market part of the same equation?
This week M-Kos welcomes the opening of Art Hong Kong 2011 (AHK2011) and takes this opportunity to focus on a series of articles about contemporary art in East Asia, introducing museums, galleries and artists in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Ai Weiwei “Fairytale” (2007) Courtesy of Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Erlenmeyer Stiftung Switzerland, Leister Foundation Switzerland
Art Hong Kong 2011 kicks off from Thursday 26 May until Sunday 29 May, amid protest over detention of Ai Weiwei by the Chinese authorities. The world, and especially the cultural sphere, prompted spontaneous petitions, sit-ins, rallys, as well as many exhibitions in his defense, held since his arrest on 3rd April. The Tate Modern has put up the words “Release Ai Weiwei” on top of its museum facade. Ai’s work “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” were displayed both in New York City and Somerset House in London. In Berlin, Neugerriemschneider gallery is currently exhibiting his works entitled “Rock” (2011) and “Tree”(2011). The gallery front of Neugerriemschneider adorns a huge banner created by the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, calling out “WHERE IS AI WEIWEI ?” Lisson Gallery, which represents him in London, also put up a huge ‘Free Ai Weiwei’ campaign banner for the opening of his exhibition on 11 May. In Paris, the artist Anish Kapoor dedicated his latest work “Leviathan” (2011) for Monumenta 2011 at the Grand Palais to Ai. In Hong Kong, which has its own separate legal system, dozens of supporters carried chairs to Victoria park to form the Chinese character “囚”（Prison), a gesture inspired by Ai’s installation “Fairytale” (2007). Dozens of people gathered for “1,001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei” held both in New York and Toronto. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego organized a 24-hour sit-in inspired by Ai’s work “Marble Chair” (2010), two of which to be acquired by the museum. Countless more tales of worldwide support for him can be found.