Ai Weiwei Exhibit to Open in Taiwan

Posted October 28th, 2011 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is set to open a new exhibit in Taiwan even though he himself is not allowed to leave Beijing.

The exhibit, titled “Absent,” officially opens Saturday at the Fine Arts Museum in Taipei. It features 21 of his works, including a photo of someone making an obscene gesture in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and a piece featuring about 1,000 bicycles.

The museum is billing the show as Ai's largest in a Chinese community outside of China.

In a statement from the museum, Ai says his personal absence from the museum will give the exhibit special meaning.

Ai was arrested at the height of a crackdown in major Chinese cities that rounded up dozens of lawyers, dissidents and human-rights activists. He was released 81 days later, after authorities said he had confessed to tax evasion.

Ai later denied in a published interview that he confessed and said he will continue to speak out against injustice.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province, despite the island's self-rule since the end of the civil war in 1949. Chinese nationalists fled to the island that year and have since threatened repeatedly to declare independence. Beijing has countered with threats to use military force to prevent any such declaration.