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Anish Kapoor calls for Ai Weiwei protest

Sculptor wants museums and galleries to shut for a day and dedicates Paris commission to detained Chinese artist.

Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor poses next to his installation in Paris, which he has dedicated Ai Weiwei.
Photograph: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

The sculptor Anish Kapoor has called on the world’s museums and galleries to close for a day in protest at the Chinese government’s continued detention of the artist Ai Weiwei.

Ai was arrested by the Chinese police on 3 April in Beijing as he was about to board a flight for Hong Kong.

The 53-year-old artist has been accused of “suspected economic crimes” by the government and has not been seen or heard from since his arrest.

Kapoor – who has dedicated his installation at the Monumenta exhibition, which opens on Wednesday at Paris’s Grand Palais, to Ai – told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that artists needed to look out for each other.

“As a colleague – I don’t know him personally – I feel that as artists we have a communal voice and it’s important that we stick together, that we have a sense of solidarity with each other,” he said.

“It would be nice to see the art world come together a little more. Perhaps all museums and galleries should be closed for a day across the world. I think some such campaign needs to form itself.”

Kapoor said the Chinese state’s behaviour was reminiscent of the Soviet era, when “the voice of artists of different kinds was seen as being dangerous”.

He added: “It does bear witness to the barbarity of governments that if they’re that paranoid they have to put away artists. It’s a ridiculous situation.”

The sculptor added that if the Chinese authorities had a case against Ai, they should bring it as soon as possible.

“Let’s get on with it then – let them accuse him of something,” he said. “It’s a month now that the poor man has been held without a voice. But not only that: his family doesn’t know where he is. This is not a situation that’s acceptable in any circumstances.”


Anish Kapoor’s ‘Leviathan’ in Paris

See Photo Gallery Here:-

...Workers set up Leviathan by Anish Kapoor for the Monumenta 2011 event in the nave of the Grand Palais in Paris

Workers set up Leviathan

A photographer sets up his equipment inside Leviathan, an installation by Anish Kapoor, at the Grand Palais in Paris, ahead of Monumenta 2011. Each year Monumenta invites an internationally-renowned artist to create a new artwork especially for the vast nave of the Grand Palais.

Each year Monumenta invites an internationally-renowned artist to create a new artwork especially for the vast nave of the Grand Palais. The piece is the fourth of its kind and will be on display until June 23, 2011.

Anish Kapoor: Monumenta, Grand Palais, Paris

“I felt, because of the nature of the building (the Grand Palais), that I wanted to make a particular kind of gesture, which was almost an attempt to turn the building inside out. To kind of have a process in which the viewer comes into the sculpture first, into the interior if you like. And then from there, back out of the building again,” Kapoor told Reuters.

Anish Kapoor: Monumenta, Grand Palais, Paris

The sculpture is 37 metres high and engulfs the Grand Palais which itself measures 13,500 cubic feet.

Anish Kapoor: Monumenta, Grand Palais, Paris

Kapoor’s creation is covered entirely in red-tinted PVC sheets. The Grand Palais’ commissioner Jean de Loisy said creating something so big was obviously a challenge but that Kapoor had always wanted his installation to be a single piece.

“We are faced with red monochrome murals 37 metres high. This red brings us back to questions about our origin. When the visitors enter, they will enter directly into the piece, be swallowed by the monster which Anish Kapoor has created and bear witness to a spectacular destruction of architecture within the reflections created by the shadows of the glass roof,” he said.

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