When Ai Weiwei was invited to mount a big solo exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz one and a half years ago, no one could have foreseen the present situation. At the beginning of April 2011, the artist was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport and, after two-and-a-half months of uncertainty, was released on bail. While Ai Weiwei is thus no longer being detained, he must nevertheless fulfill strict bail conditions. He is forbidden to leave Peking without permission for the next 12 months, to speak about his captivity, and to give press interviews. He is accused by the Chinese government of economic offences. Many influential politicians including the American President and the Foreign Ministers of Austria and Germany protested in response to Ai Weiwei’s disappearance in April. Leading intellectuals, Nobel laureates, and a large number of cultural producers expressed support for the artist. Numerous art institutions also organized actions and petitions. A petition for Ai Weiwei’s release, which the Kunsthaus Bregenz supported both on its website and in an action at the Venice Biennale, was signed by more than 100,000 people. Now as then, in view of the travel ban and gag order, the KUB is actively campaigning for the artist to be allowed to work freely again, to travel, using his communication tools and giving interviews.
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