Ai Weiwei opens new exhibition in Portugal

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei launches a new exhibition in Portugal and says he will take up permanent residence there.

Ai Weiwei’s new exhibition, titled Rapture (Duel), is scheduled to open Friday (June 4) in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Ai Weiwei arrived in Portugal two years ago and has no plans to return to Germany or Britain, where he has lived since leaving China in 2015.

The Associated Press reports that Ai Weiwei’s new exhibition will take place at a riverside contemporary art gallery in Lisbon. The exhibition presents 85 exhibits, including new art he has produced since his arrival in Portugal, more than Ai Weiwei’s 2018 art show in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The exhibit includes Ai Weiwei’s “Forever Bicycles” from 2015, a giant sculpture made of 960 stainless steel bicycles placed at the entrance of the gallery; a 16-meter-long black rubber boat carrying people made by Ai Weiwei; and other well-known sculptures, videos and photographs.

But Ai told the Associated Press that most of the exhibits “have never seen each other before” and are being shown in the same room for the first time.

The AP said Ai arrived in Portugal and visited craftsmen and producers of traditional artwork such as marble and hand-painted tiles.

Ai told the AP on Thursday that he liked Portugal’s relatively slow pace of life, its “very open” population and “very acceptable” food and abundant sunshine. He said he had a “good feeling” about Portugal and that “this is where I will stay.