PARIS — Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei will for the first time display his creations in France at the upscale Parisian department store Bon Marche, the emporium announced on its website Wednesday.
The exhibition, dubbed “Er Xi, Air de Jeux” (“Child’s Play”) will run from Jan. 16 to Feb. 20 and will center on the theme of childhood — with pieces including huge bamboo structures, 3D dragons and kites.
“Exhibiting at the Bon Marche is using a new medium, a big store, to meet a new audience, as large as a museum’s, but which in principle does not come to see art,” the Berlin-based artist said on the store’s French web page.
The Bon Marche website offers previews of the works — with photos showing large 3D figures made of bamboo wood and delicate white tissue paper and inspired by Chinese mythology.
“This exhibition allows me to work under different constraints from those in a museum or gallery,” Ai said. Ai, mainland China’s most prominent contemporary artist, was detained in 2011 for 81 days over his advocacy of democracy and human rights as well as other criticisms of the authorities in Beijing. Following the 2011 detention, he was placed under house arrest and had his passport taken away. The document was only returned in July this year, enabling him to travel overseas. Last week the 58-year-old announced plans to create a memorial on the Greek island of Lesbos after meeting some of the many migrants and refugees there who risked their lives to reach the shores of Europe.