Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is one of the most diverse artists of our days. His fields of interest include architecture, design, art, curatorial work, writing, publishing and many more. The gallery has asked him to create some documentary photo and video works which should highlight the rapid changes taking place in China, based on his personal observations and his experience with the Chinese government. Both in public and in his blogs (which are often blocked by Chinese authorities) Ai Weiwei continuously calls for freedom of the press and protection of Human Rights; values he deems indispensable in order to form a proper civil society, i.e. a society based on democratic principles. In order to achieve this, however, people would first have to take responsibility for their actions - something that in China still seems a million years away due to the mighty tradition of the influence of the teachings of Confucius. The current Chinese government even uses the term "harmony" as an ideological motif and instrument of control.
For centuries, the Chinese have been used to walking many different ways (tao) without passing a judgement or choosing an option. Regarding his role as an artist, Ai Weiwei's self-defined responsibility lies in searching and revealing grievances and in informing the public about them.
When in 2008 thousands of school children died in an earthquake in the Chinese province of Sichuan, the Chinese government tried to cover up the circumstances leading to the collapsing of the schools (but not of the government and administration buildings). Ai Weiwei’s major work REMEMBERING, consisting of 9,000 children rucksacks attached to the façade of Haus der Kunst in Munich, formed the Chinese sentence a mother uttered when seeing the body of her dead child: "She happily lived on this planet for seven years". After Ai Weiwei had issued a public appeal to investigate in this matter, he and some of his voluntary helpers were repeatedly threatened and attacked.