053_G17 Arena

Global_17

Arena Arts One of Ai Weiwei’s drawings celebrating Chinese New Year Ai Weiwei photographed in 2010 the public. As artists, it is important to be aware and make use of ourselves as media to provide content and information for public discussion. This is an unprecedented opportunity for direct, concise and lively conversations with the world, which has always been the goal of the artist. It is a sign of the information age and is only possible today. What do you think the most important function of art is? Is it important to you that you have a lasting effect on your audience? The most important function of art is to provide a unique and private expression that is independent from reality, yet running parallel to it. The language that art creates is evidence of the collective struggle to understand our existence. Where do you envision your career as an artist going in the future? As an artist, I think I only exist with the people who can see or hear me. Wherever that is will be where I go in the future. What themes have influenced your recent work? I am most influenced by the idea that artists can be truly independent, © Gao Yuan and likewise for any individual, when they are given free flow of information, the independent choice to exercise judgement, the means to express themselves in different forms and the possibility to communicate freely with their audience. It is an amazing time for artists, because there are endless opportunities to encourage individuals to take initiatives and action and to associate ideas freely with thoughts. What changes do you hope to see happen in China in your lifetime? I hope to see China becoming a normal society, meaning it recognises the function of society, as well as the rights and happiness of individuals. It should abandon the thinking that a society’s and a nation’s function can only be maintained by exploiting personal rights. To become a normal society, freedom of speech, an independent judicial system and social justice need to be restored. The state needs to exist as a legitimate power, elected by its citizens rather than secured by arms, jails and censorship. The people’s minds cannot be blocked from information and expression and their voices cannot be silenced. global f i rst quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 53 © Phil Hawksworth Creative Commons BY 2.0


Global_17
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