Art & Culture Social issues 52'

Ai Weiwei, The Artivist

"An artist must be an activist." Here is the leitmotiv of the internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei, whose provocative work points out injustices. Let’s discover the unlikely life of this troublemaker.


A protester, an iconoclast, a prankster, a dreamer. Many adjectives can be used to qualify this indomitable artist, whose life resembles an adventure novel. Forced to leave Beijing with his family, Ai Weiwei was sent in Chinese labor camps where he spent his youth. In the 1980’s, he moved to New York, embarking on his dual career as an artist and activist.

By mixing mediums, Ai Weiwei gives birth to a protean art in which sculpture, performance, documentary making, photography and architecture all come together. Flipping the finger to institutions and cultural values, amplifying the voices of refugees, warning on the climate emergency… Eager to disturb and to expose, he engages in all major humanitarian crises.


From New York to China, passing by Europe — especially Portugal, where his new studio is based —, Ai Weiwei, The Artivist combines interviews of Weiwei’s friends and collaborators, his personal archives and an exclusive access to the preparation of upcoming exhibition in Germany. The film is led by the voice of Weiwei himself, and grasps the creative process of an unclassifiable and committed figure.

Direction: Caroline Benarrosh & Roxana Azimi

Production: CAT & Cie for France Télévisions

Languages: French, English

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