At the Cinema Exhibition Zuecca Project Space presents a selection of videos filmed and chosen by Ai Weiwei himself.
VENICE 5TH , 6TH AND 7TH SEPTEMBER 2013 – HOTEL BAUER (SALA CESETTI)
FROM MIDDAY TO MIDNIGHT.
Zuecca Project Space in Venice continues to promote events and initiatives relating to contemporary art in all its manifestations, taking part in the topical moments provided by the city and drawing on its special vocation for international relations and openness to the East.
is a satellite project of the Zuecca Project Space, under the direction of Alessandro Possati and curated by Maurizio Bortolotti, which unfolds alongside the Venice Film Festival.
Ai-Weiwei,-2010 – Photo credit Gao Yuan
Inaugurated in 2012 in collaboration with Palazzo Grassi, the project is this year connected with the “Disposition” exhibition of Ai Weiwei – a collateral event of the 55th Venice Biennale – offering the public a series of documentary videos by the Chinese dissident artist and selected by him for the occasion.
The subject is human rights and freedom of expression both of which are particularly dear to Ai Weiwei and which he comes back to over and over again with an irresistible inevitability – and this despite his difficult relationship with the Chinese government that has imprisoned and persecuted him – while using all the forms of communication and artistic expression available to him.
Three days of uninterrupted screenings will be taking place then – from noon till midnight on the 5th , 6th and 7th September – with free entry at the Sala Cesetti of the Hotel Bauer in Venice.
Each day two different works of Ai Weiwei can be seen as the exhibition scrolls through selected productions from the Ai Weiwei Studio, including documentaries, from 2004 to the present day.
The programme for the Screening Room begins on 5th September with Fairytale (2007, in English 152 mins) and Ping’ an Yueqing (2011, in Chinese 142 mins); on Friday 6th we can see Disturbing the Peace (2009, in Chinese, 79 mins) and So Sorry (2011, Chines and English 55 mins), while on the Saturday Chang’ an Boulevard will be shown (2004, 10 hours and 13 mins).
Weiwei is an artist, architect, editor and filmmaker by training and by vocation, having been educated at the Cinema Academy; the videos and documentaries themselves are for Weiwei above all a way of attracting attention to, bearing witness to and telling the story of the reality of life in his country.
Chang’ an Boulevard (2004) is part of the first four videos made by Ai Weiwei, all of which are based on observations of Beijing:
there are hours of film that examine life on the streets, the scenario, behaviour and the transformation of the urban landscape under a socialist and planned economy. There are in this case 608 frames a minute, for a total of over ten hours screening time, showing segments of the great 45 kilometre avenue that cuts east-west through what has been China’s capital for over 600 years.
‘Fairytale’ (2007) documents the thoroughly innovative project that Ai Weiwei first presented in Kassel in 2007 during Documenta 12, with 1,001 Chinese of different ages and social backgrounds, often never having been out the country, invited by the artist to travel in Germany to live their dream for 28 days.
He helped them get their passports, creating a thousand and one wooden seats, a thousand and one suitcases, a gadget for each and a ‘campus’ for them to sleep and eat in.
It is a meeting of cultures, knowledge and exchange. The video shows the preparation, the emotions and the acquisition of new knowledge on the part of the video’s players.
Disturbing the Peace (2009) for its part indirectly tells the story of the disaster of the Sichuan earthquake, which was also approached in the evocative installation on exhibit at Zuecca Project Space.
The video documents what happened during the Tan Zouren trial, a human rights lawyer who, because of his investigations into the death of students as a result of poor construction work, was accused of “incitement to subvert the power of the state”.
The Sichuan police imprisoned witnesses during the trial and handed down to the lawyer a five year custodial sentence.
Ai Weiwei’s denouncement seems ever more stark and explosive in nature.
So Sorry and Ping’ an Yueqing both date from 2011.
The first is a sequel to Disturbing the Peace and recounts Ai Wei Wei’s journey to Chengdu to take part in Tan Zuoren’s trial as a witness, but it is also the work of Ai Weiwei’s studio to seek out the names of the children who died in the earthquake, which had been kept hidden by the government.
During his stay in Chengdu Ai Weiwei received a beating from the local police that resulted in his suffering haematoma on the brain.
The second documentary investigates the circumstances of the death “by road accident”, of the popular village leader of Yuequing in Zhejiang province. The man had denounced to the Beijing government, with no response whatsoever, for the confiscation by the local government, which also imprisoned him, of the villagers’ land and with it their only means of sustenance. The film, whose release was much impeded by the authorities, reconstructs the circumstances of the accident and its connection with his denouncement of the facts. It does this through a series of interviews with family members and villagers. Many of the latter were unlawfully arrested for having agreed to take part in the filming, which was itself subject to repeated interruptions and threats from the local police.
Ai Weiwei persists with his art and his insistence that he is a free man, a seeker of truth and forever a thorn in the side of established power.
VENICE, HOTEL BAUER – SALA CESETTI FROM NOON TO MIDNIGHT.
- AI WEIWEI - SCREENING ROOM -
THURSDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2013
(2007, ENGLISH 152 M.)
PING’ AN YUEQING
(2011, CHINESE 142 M.)
FRIDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER 2013
DISTURBING THE PEACE
(2009, CHINESE 79 MIN.)
(2011, CHINESE/ENGLISH 55 MIN.)
SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER 2013
CHANG’ AN BOULEVARD
(2004, 10 HOURS 13 MINS.)