Recently I have been reading 'Ai Weiwei Speaks', a book of interviews he did with Hans Ulrich Obrist. Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist, designer, architect, curator, poet, blogger and publisher. Hans Ulrich is a curator, writer and co-director of the Serpentine Gallery.
I find Ai Weiwei a very inspirational artist - both in terms of his work (he was responsible for the Sunflower seed installation which was both epic and sensitive, and extremely clever) and also what he stands for socially; as someone living in a Communist country who refuses to be silenced (Ai Weiwei has been beaten and detained by the police numerous times).
I thought I'd share some of my favourite Ai quotes with you:
'...Because we're actually a part of reality, and if we don't realize that then we are totally irresponsible. We are a productive reality. We are the reality, but that part of reality means we need to produce another reality'.
'I was speaking the other day to the artist David Hockney, and he was telling me that, whenever he needs to reinvent his painting, he goes into something else: he writes an art history book, or he makes a movie, and then he comes back to art and it gives him new ideas'.
'No, nothing was planned. The most beautiful thing that ever happened in my life was by coincidence and not by plan. And it often happens because you don't plan. If you have plans, you only have one go. If you don't have plans it often turns out well because you've followed the situation. that's why I've always jumped in to unprepared situations, the most exciting conditions'.
'So, even if you try to reveal or open yourself, you're still a mystery, because everybody is a mystery. We can never understand ourselves. However we act or whatever we do is misleading. So in that case, what does it matter.'
'Ai Weiwei Speaks' is available from Penguin books. (I got mine in Magma, Manchester. £5.99 very well spent!).