Words by Ai Weiwei in the interviews with Hans Ulrich Obrist.

– Yes, ceramics is kind of crazy. I hate ceramics… but I do it. I think if you hate something too much, you have to do it. You have to use that.

– I think my mother threw away most of them (early paintings). You know, being an artist was not a prestigious practice at the time. I also spent time in the zoo, making very nice drawings of the animals. That was my starting point.

– (Early paintings) They were mostly about landscapes, in the fashion of Munch – or some were even in the fashion of Cézanne. You can clearly see it. I remember, at the end of the school, the teacher would give a critique to every student but purposely left me alone.

– I don’t imagine things. I have no imagination, no memory. I act on the moment.

– I have a tendency to open up the personal secrets. I think, being human, that both life and death have a secret side but there’s the temptation to reveal the truth and see the fact that you need some courage or understanding about life or death. So, even if you try to reveal or open yourself, you’re still a mystery, because everybody is a mystery. We can never understand ourselves. However we act or whatever we do is misleading. So in that case, it doesn’t matter.

– In 1999 I decided to have my own studio. So I walked into this village and asked the owner of the village if I could rent some land. He said, “Yes we have land”, so I said, “Can I build something?”  He said, “Yes, you can build. ” It was illegal, but they didn’t care.

– My favourite word? It’s “act“.

Thank you Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Thank you Ai Weiwei

Thanks Elena for this present.

Photo: Tate Modern.

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