Is This Art?

Greetings from Berlin XII

Last week a large exhibition of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was opened in Berlin. I had read in a newspaper beforehand that he defines his not being allowed to attend the opening as art. I had accepted this as a matter of fact until a friend asked me: “Why? Why is this art?” Wow, I thought, this is a really challenging question.

Art, I think, means foremost to create something. By forbidding Ai to come to Berlin and to take part in this event the Chinese government tries to prevent him from representing his art and to damage his identity as an artist. Defining this prohibition as art allows Ai to take back the power and to continue to create. Even though I find this answer rather convincing it does not satisfy me one-hundred percent. Can an absence really be art? What do you think?


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