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Ai WeiWei



Ai Weiwei, born in 1957, is one of the most prominent artists of our time. In addition to being a conceptual artist, he is also known as a human rights activist and a critic of authoritarian systems of power.

His work questions continuity and change, tradition and revolution through its form, innovation and simplicity. He combines traditional Chinese culture with his own personal iconography and is known for his critique of the cultural and social situation in China.

Bicycles were and are a common means of transportation in China. Ai Weiwei often uses them in his work, as he believes the audience can identify with them. There are differing interpretations of the meaning of the title of the work – Forever. This could refer to the Forever brand of bicycles that flooded the streets of China in Ai Weiwei’s youth, but which were too expensive for many people. It can also represent the fact that cars are increasingly taking the place of bicycles, which are therefore not forever. Although the bicycles in his work symbolise freedom and movement, they’re chained together to suggest the situation in Chinese society: fixed and regimented.