Until this week, legendary Chinese artist Ai WeiWei had said he would not be attending the All Worlds Fair in San Francisco.
Now, according to communications with the All Worlds Fair Ministry of Artist Envoys, he will not only be attending but will present what he calls “the pinnacle of my recent work in four-dimensional sculpture.”
The artist has been circumspect about the exact nature of the piece, only confirming that it will utilize non-Euclidean convex regular 4-polytopes in an interactive installation, and that it will be called “Confucius in The Cave of Shadows.”
Rumors that it will be an implicit critique of the Chinese Communist Party could not be confirmed at this time.
Normally the Ministry of Artist Envoys requires significantly more information about artist submissions in order to evaluate a piece, but Deputy Minister W.H. Leopold said that an exception was being made in WeiWei’s case.
Prior to this announcement, Ai WeiWei’s reasons for boycotting the Fair were as numerous and varied as his Tweets on the subject. In one instance, he wrote that “I cannot, in good conscience, attend the All Worlds Fair until the U.S. ends its policy of unmanned drone strikes against civilians.”
(Note: all tweets are translated from Mandarin)
In another, he said he objected to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s “absurd reduction of social media to a tool for technocratic mumbling,” and in yet another he said the date conflicted with a banquet honoring the last living veterans of Mao Zedong’s “long march.”
Some of the artist’s admirers suggested that the barrage of explanations was meant to signal that the Chinese Government was not allowing him to attend, a suggestion the Chinese Ministry of Information called “paranoid.”
Now, however, WeiWei says he is thrilled to attend and to have his new work displayed alongside the treasures of the cosmos.
“This is the piece that will change everything,” he said of Confucius in The Cave of Shadows. “This is the moment the next generation of artists will look back on as the moment they became possible.”