Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing in 1957, and he graduated from Parsons School of Design and Art, New York (1993). Ai Weiwei is a highly respected member of the Chinese artistic arena. He was a member of Xing Xing; a self-taught group of artists of the late 70’s who rebelled against the norms of academia. While in the US he made conceptual art, focusing on the alteration of ready-made objects and situations. This influence of Dada is notably reflected in his Furniture Series which he began in 1997. These series also echo his great interest for traditional Chinese craftsmanship. In 1998, Ai Weiwei opened the China Art Archive & Warehouse in Beijing, of which he is the artistic director. The artist uses a wide range of media, is a freelance curator and collaborated with architects Herzog and de Meuron on the design of Beijing’s Olympic Stadium. He also participated at Kassel’s Dokumenta 12, with Fairytale - a project which involved flying over 1001 individuals from China.
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