Blog
In the frame

Despite Brexit, Ai Weiwei has moved to the UK

Ai Weiwei in front of his work Law of the Journey (2017) at the 21st Biennale of Sydney Don Arnold/WireImage

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has swapped Berlin for Britain and relocated to the UK. The high-profile activist confirmed to The Art Newspaper that he has settled in Cambridge after leaving the German capital, his hometown since 2015. Ai is no stranger to the hallowed British university city—in 2016, he showed a series of recent works at Downing College. But why leave Berlin? Ai told The Guardian that the rise of populism in Germany had left him feeling sidelined and that Europe had turned its back on refugees. But isn't Brexit an issue for the politically charged practitioner? “The UK has a deep problem. They seem to have lost courage and vision in this fast-changing world,” Ai said. We recently found out that his new production of Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera Turandot (1926), due to open next year in Italy, will refer to the deepening political crisis in Hong Kong (the artist recently dispatched a video team to the Hong Kong protests where he plans to produce a documentary or series of interviews). His take on the British-Sino relationship is typically candid. Asked on the BBC's Today programme whether Britain, which ruled over Hong Kong until 1997, has a duty to act, he said: “As someone fighting for human rights, I have no trust in Britain at all.”