Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei is well known, not only for his artworks but also for his political actions, for which he has been also arrested. The last political action in which he decided to involve himself was in Munich, at the Haus der Kunst. Ai reportedly criticized the museum’s management for buying expensive works of art “while people with low pay [could] be dismissed”, according to Deustchlandkulturfunk.
The Haus der Kunst has faced financial difficulties in recent times and has been forced to lay off two thirds of its part-time workers, even though they have been working there for twenty years. Ai was campaigning to support the employees who were about to lose their jobs, when he started to debate with Haus der Kunst director Dr. Bernhard Spies, about the decision to lay off its workers.
Refuting reports that he was thrown out of the museum, Weiwei took to Twitter to clarify, saying, “We left after the end of the protest. NB: I have never been thrown out by anyone and I’m sure there will be a time to come“.
This was only one of many manifestations of Ai, who moved to Berlin in 2015, when his self-imposed exile began, but he recently mentioned that he might be leaving the country, “Germany is not an open society, it is a society that wants to be open, but above all it protects itself. German culture is so strong that it doesn’t really accept other ideas and arguments”.
However, this does not mean that he will stop fighting alongside German workers to help their cause, while he remains in the country.