Artist Ai Weiwei to Leave China, Set Up Shop in Berlin

After a tumultuous couple of years that included multiple beatings by government officials and the recent destruction of his studio in Shanghai, it looks as though Ai Weiwei has plans to take a break for a while from his native China.ArtForum reports that the artist will be relocating to Berlin soon. It will be on a temporary basis, perhaps similar to the early-’80s through the early-’90s when he lived in New York, but based on the relationship he’s had recently with his own country, how soon he’ll feel welcomed back is anyone’s guess. Here’s a bit

According to an additional report in the Berliner Zeitung, Ai will be setting up his space inside four halls measuring a total of 16,000 square-feet in the former AEG premises. There, he plans to open an exhibition on April 29, during the upcoming Gallery Weekend event. Ai has recently had trouble showing work in China. A retrospective planned for the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing’s 798 artist district was canceled, due to political pressure. His newly built studio in Shanghai was destroyed last January. “It’s true that the possibilities for artistic expression are very small in China,” said Ai. “But I’m not planning to emigrate to Germany. China is the place I’m most familiar with, and, in the end, I’m a Chinese citizen. I will do my best to improve the working conditions there.”