110+ Ai Weiwei Quotes On Art, Creative And Political
Quick Jump To
Top 10 Ai Weiwei Quotes (BEST)
- Your own acts tell the world who you are and what kind of society you think it should be.
- A small act is worth a million thoughts.
- The world is not changing if you don’t shoulder the burden of responsibility.
- The purpose of art is the fight for freedom.
- I always want people to be confused, to be shocked or realize something later.
- Stupidity can win for a moment, but it can never really succeed because the nature of humans is to seek freedom. Rulers can delay that freedom, but they cannot stop it.
- If there is no freedom of expression, then the beauty of life is lost. Participation in a society is not an artistic choice, it’s a human need.
- Being an artist is more of a mindset, a way of seeing things; it is no longer so much about producing something.
- Imagine one day, the hateful world around you collapses. And it is your attitude, words and actions that put an end to it. Will you be excited?
- If my art has nothing to do with people's pain and sorrow, what is 'art' for?
Ai Weiwei Image Quotes
The world is not changing if you don’t shoulder the burden of responsibility. — Ai Weiwei
I always want people to be confused, to be shocked or realize something later. — Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei Short Quotes
- If there is no free speech, every single life has lived in vain
- Every day I'm learning something new from the practice. It's very rewarding.
- Self-censorship is insulting to the self. Timidity is a hopeless way forward.
- The so-called culture nowadays is only a fake one with a superficial front. It is an empty lie.
- During the days in detention, I thought most about the moon.
- Everyone of us is a potential convict.
- Without freedom of speech, there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.
- A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.
- To express yourself needs a reason, but expressing yourself is the reason.
- In the end, I think, the state's rigidity is a function of its own insecurity, its indecisiveness.
Ai Weiwei Quotes On Art
Art should live in the heart of the people. Ordinary people should have the same ability to understand art as anybody else. I don't think art is elite or mysterious. — Ai Weiwei
This so-called contemporary art is not a form, but a philosophy of society. — Ai Weiwei
I think art is a very important weapon to achieve human freedom — Ai Weiwei
I have people working together, doing different things: architecture, art installation, photography, publishing, and curatorial works and design. — Ai Weiwei
I think of art as coming from daily life, daily experience. I think it's very important not to have it become work for some kind of elite circle. — Ai Weiwei
As a total activity - I practice curating, art, architecture, writing, and publishing all together. I still act as a living creature. — Ai Weiwei
As a person, I was born to give out my opinions. By giving out my opinions, I realize who I am. As long as I can communicate, I'm not so lonely. If I cannot travel, or do art, or have company, if they take away all my belongings, it doesn't matter at all. — Ai Weiwei
Freedom of expression is a very essential condition for me to make any art. Also, it is an essential value for my life. I have to protect this right and also to fight for the possibility. — Ai Weiwei
My definition of art has always been the same. It is about freedom of expression, a new way of communication. It is never about exhibiting in museums or about hanging it on the wall. — Ai Weiwei
Because Chinese art is booming, it legitimizes this profession. — Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei Quotes On Creative
China restricts the society's freedom of speech. The Communist Party imposes these limits because it lacks confidence towards the future and has no ideals. Nowadays, China is experiencing the detrimental effects of such decisions. Its citizens have no creativity. — Ai Weiwei
In a society that restricts individual freedoms and violates human rights, anything that calls itself creative or independent is a pretence. It is impossible for a totalitarian society to create anything with passion and imagination. — Ai Weiwei
Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo, and to seek new potential. Simply put, aside from using one's imagination - perhaps more importantly - creativity is the power to act. — Ai Weiwei
Creativity is part of human nature. It can only be untaught. — Ai Weiwei
I think art certainly is the vehicle for us to develop any new ideas, to be creative, to extend our imagination, to change the current conditions. — Ai Weiwei
Civilization has evolved toward more acceptance, understanding and tolerance of global thinking. If we accept differences, our creativity booms. It makes life much more colorful. It also makes humanity much more safe. If we see pureness somewhere as something to be desired, the trouble starts. — Ai Weiwei
Creativity is the power to act. — Ai Weiwei
A society is healthy only when it allows its members to discuss their thoughts openly. This is also the only way that a society can gather consensus, let everyone express his or her wish, and foster creativity. — Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei Quotes On Political
Politics is like air and water. And you know if there is bad politics. Everyone is polluted. Everyone is unhealthy. See the people walking on the street: how they act. — Ai Weiwei
To work in architecture you are so much involved with society, with politics, with bureaucrats. It's a very complicated process to do large projects. You start to see the society, how it functions, how it works. Then you have a lot of criticism about how it works. — Ai Weiwei
Our lives are bound by physical limits, familial ties, political conditions, and geographical restrictions. Individual freedom takes us beyond them all. — Ai Weiwei
My work is always a ready-made... cultural, political, or social, and also it could be art - to make people re-look at what we have done, its original position, to create new possibilities. — Ai Weiwei
Everything is art. Everything is politics. — Ai Weiwei
My definition of art has always been the same. It is about freedom of expression. I don’t think anybody can separate art from politics. The intention to separate [the two] is itself a very political intention. — Ai Weiwei
Behind every political deal in this country, the first casualties are always the ordinary people, who are barely treated as human. — Ai Weiwei
Today, the general masses in this society are in this political-social condition that really encourages people to become rich and become a star and be unique. — Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei Famous Quotes And Sayings
The world is not changing if you don’t shoulder the burden of responsibility. — Ai Weiwei
I always want people to be confused, to be shocked or realize something later. — Ai Weiwei
Whenever there is injustice, there is tension. But in China it is very hard to release your anger unless you burn yourself or you jump from a bridge. In a society where there is no freedom of the press, it is difficult for victims to be noticed. — Ai Weiwei
For artists and intellectuals today, what is most needed is to be clear about social responsibility, because that is what most people automatically give up. Just to protect yourself as an individual is very political. You don't have to march on Tiananmen, but you do have to be clear-minded, to find your own means of expression. — Ai Weiwei
Censorship is saying: "I'm the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine." But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word – even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power will collapse because of a whisper. — Ai Weiwei
I have to respect my life, and free expression is part of my life. I can never really silence myself. — Ai Weiwei
No outdoor sports can be more elegant than throwing stones at autocracy; no melees can be more exciting than those in cyberspace. — Ai Weiwei
The tragic reality of today is reflected in the true plight of our spiritual existence. We are spineless and cannot stand straight. — Ai Weiwei
I am very much interested in the so-called useless object. I mean, it takes perfect craftsmanship, beautiful material carefully measured and crafted, but at the same time it’s really useless. — Ai Weiwei
Technology is a liberation. I think the information age probably is the best thing to happen to the human race in human evolution. Now you have the equal opportunity to equip yourself through information and knowledge and express yourself as an independent mind. — Ai Weiwei
We should also leave behind discrimination, because it is narrow-minded and ignorant, denies contact and warmth; and corrodes mankind's belief that we can better ourselves. The only way to avoid misunderstanding, war and bloodshed is to defend freedom of expression and to communicate with sincerity, concern and good intentions. — Ai Weiwei
To call yourself a Chinese artist or woman artist or African artist reflects a certain kind of condition. To me, that is not necessary. — Ai Weiwei
I think by shattering it we can create a new form, a new way to look at what is valuable — how we decide what is valuable. — Ai Weiwei
To experience poetry is to see over and above reality. It is to discover that which is beyond the physical, to experience another life and another level of feeling. It is to wonder about the world, to understand the nature of people and, most importantly, to be shared with another, old or young, known or unknown. — Ai Weiwei
Of course, most luxury goods in China are for corrupted officials and their relatives. And that made China become the biggest luxury-goods market. In this kind of dictatorship, in this kind of totalitarian society, it is easy to make deals that you cannot make in a democratic society. — Ai Weiwei
Everyone wants an iPhone, but it would be impossible to design an iPhone in China because it's not a product; it's an understanding of human nature. — Ai Weiwei
By participating in the society we live in, we understand our conditions and the way we relate to the world. — Ai Weiwei
China didn't want to lose the cutting edge of technology. So the idea of having a Sina Weibo was an attempt to compete with Twitter. However, it has no soul - which is freedom of expression. Nevertheless, I think the government regrets having Sina Weibo, but they cannot shut it down. That would definitely be suicidal. — Ai Weiwei
The American experience influenced my understanding of individuality, basic human rights, freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. — Ai Weiwei
Many people I know - writers, poets - they have all been sentenced not once but sometimes three times after they come out. They serve five or six years, come out another time, and then nine years. Come out again, 12 years. Only because they have a different opinion. They are innocent people, they have beautiful minds, beautiful hearts. — Ai Weiwei
I think it’s a responsibility for any artist to protect freedom of expression and to use any way to extend this power. — Ai Weiwei
Everyone thinks the Chinese government selected me. Never ever. I was selected by Herzog and de Meuron. — Ai Weiwei
We see the tendency in the world to criticise democracy and sometimes even to say that authoritarian countries like China are more efficient. That is very short-sighted. China looks efficient only because it can sacrifice most people's rights. This is not something the west should be happy about. — Ai Weiwei
Today, we jump into this globalization of the economy and the internet age. — Ai Weiwei
I loved New York — every inch of it. It was a little bit scary at that time, but still, the excitement was so strong — visually and intellectually. It was like a monster. — Ai Weiwei
A nation like China has become one of the biggest production fields for exporting cheap labor, which also re-questions our history and past, re-questions human desire, and the human illusions of the past. — Ai Weiwei
A historical property has morals and ethics of the society that created it and it can be revived. What I mean is that we can discover new possibilities from the process of dismantling, transforming, and recreating. — Ai Weiwei
The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned. This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill. — Ai Weiwei
There are many cases and layers of racist behavior in the US - from police treatment to the issues of education and job opportunities. In America, however, such cases are being discussed publically. — Ai Weiwei
In a society like this there is no negotiation, no discussion, except to tell you that power can crush you any time they want — not only you, your whole family and all people like you. — Ai Weiwei
Overturning police cars is a super-intense workout. It’s probably the only sport I enjoy. — Ai Weiwei
When human beings are scared and feel everything is exposed to the government, we will censor ourselves from free thinking. That's dangerous for human development. — Ai Weiwei
Warhol influenced me because of his writing. If I had never read his writings and interviews, I would never have understood his work. — Ai Weiwei
We are living in a popular culture where everything is overexposed. — Ai Weiwei
I saw [Allen Ginsberg] more as an old man who liked poetry and who had a lot of physical and emotional problems. We liked our time together. — Ai Weiwei
I call on people to be 'obsessed citizens,' forever questioning and asking for accountability. That's the only chance we have today of a healthy and happy life. — Ai Weiwei
The Internet is uncontrollable. And if the Internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It's as simple as that. — Ai Weiwei
I think China is laughing about the results of the presidential elections. China, Russia, they all laugh about it. They see how dramatic U.S. has to be put this kind of shame on its own - cannot handle the situation. Or show such a difficulty with this liberal ideas. Men or women created equal. And to defend those very essential ideas. — Ai Weiwei
Historically, China is not a nation of sportsmen. We traditionally put more emphasis on being close to nature than pushing endlessly to excel. A philosophy that values tranquil contemplation of the landscape cannot easily be adapted to the Olympic slogan of 'higher, stronger, faster.' — Ai Weiwei
Man has a tendency to try to give clear reasons to be rational, but often you can see how all those reasons are not convincing and turn out to be a big nonsense. — Ai Weiwei
I was an illegal alien for many, many years. I couldn't move. If I moved I could not even get a visa back. — Ai Weiwei
Hopefully, other successes aren't like me. It carries much more meaning to other people; my success story is irrelevant. It doesn't make any sense. — Ai Weiwei
If artists cannot speak up for human dignity or rights, then who else will do it? — Ai Weiwei
China hasn't only existed for one day. Now, the whole nation has become richer and it's become a problem. The problem is universal. The factor is big. Everybody has to rethink the balance of the world and the whole landscape. — Ai Weiwei
I think it's more important to show your work to the public. — Ai Weiwei
I have to find a place for my own. I have to search for my own happiness. — Ai Weiwei
Expressing oneself is like a drug. I'm so addicted to it. — Ai Weiwei
Democracy, material wealth, and universal education are the soil upon which modernism exists. — Ai Weiwei
What is important is that we actively express our thoughts and wishes, in every realm that we can access. — Ai Weiwei
People have a tendency to become elite rather than to care about the general conditions of the society, which makes me sick. It's an unbearable condition. — Ai Weiwei
Recently I danced in a video spoof of the song 'Gangnam Style,' and it was quickly banned across multiple Chinese online video platforms. But the story still traveled all over the world, carried in hundreds of international media reports. — Ai Weiwei
When you have strict censorship of the internet, young students cannot receive a full education. Their view of the world is imbalanced. There can be no true discussion of the issues. — Ai Weiwei
It's really rubbish that some kind of "technical" learning means you will be a better person because you know this skill better. — Ai Weiwei
This week, the world gathers in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic games. This is the extraordinary moment China has been dreaming of for 100 years. People have been longing for this moment, because it symbolises a turning point in China's relationship with the outside world. — Ai Weiwei
There are no outdoor sports as graceful as throwing stones at a dictatorship. — Ai Weiwei
I think you can give meaning to any condition; you can be poor or unsuccessful or be so-called successful. But I don't think that it would give an individual human being a better condition. — Ai Weiwei
I don't think my father had a direct influence on me, but I do think, more or less, I was influenced by his independent individualism. And the kind of condition he had when he was in this society - the kind of mistreatment society gave him. — Ai Weiwei
Mass production is nothing new. Weren't cathedrals built through mass production? The pyramids?... Paintings can be painted with the left hand, the right hand, someone else's hand, or many people's hands. The scale of production is irrelevant to its content. — Ai Weiwei
Widespread state control over art and culture has left no room for freedom of expression in the country. For more than 60 years, anyone with a dissenting opinion has been suppressed. Chinese art is merely a product: it avoids any meaningful engagement. There is no larger context. Its only purpose is to charm viewers with its ambiguity. — Ai Weiwei
I also have to speak out for people around me who are afraid, who think it is not worth it or who have totally given up hope. So I want to set an example: you can do it and this is OK, to speak out. — Ai Weiwei
It became like a symbolic thing, to be “an artist.” After Duchamp, I realized that being an artist is more about a lifestyle and attitude than producing some product. — Ai Weiwei
I have always stated I designed the stadium as a toilet seat. I don't care if this is a great cultural event or a national symbol. It has nothing to do with me. It deals with the city. — Ai Weiwei
I don't think it's worth discussing new directions in the context of Chinese art - there were no old directions, either. Chinese art has never had any clear orientation. — Ai Weiwei
I don't believe in the so-called Olympic spirit. I speak from personal experience. When China hosted the Games, it failed to include the people. The event was constructed without regard for their joy. — Ai Weiwei
The leadership knows that you cannot solve the issues of China's future with the means of the past. The demographic consequences of the one-child policy, the build-up of the welfare state, the jobs for 7 million university graduates every year, the immense corruption: Even some Western governments would have to scramble to find solutions to such problems. — Ai Weiwei
I came back [to Beijing ] because that's the only time I had an excuse to come back, or otherwise I would never have a reason to come back. — Ai Weiwei
I think I'm just a traveler. When you walk across a river and there's no bridge, you build one. I'm used to having to deal with Chinese Communist ideology - it's not really an ideology, but a method of control. But China's problems are not just China's problems - they're human problems. Humanity has always worked better when you see it as one. — Ai Weiwei
We live in changing times, and many people experience the challenges that come with it. In the face of uncertain futures, no one will know what to expect. — Ai Weiwei
I was in the most restricted prison in China, the most tough. The design of the prison is modeled for internal crimes of the Communist party, so it's like a mafia family's law. It's independent to the law this nation openly applies. It's the place they take you before they give you over to the judicial system. You stay there for a year or two and they make you really suffer to confess everything. — Ai Weiwei
Any design, any city, any kind of craziness or tragedy, it all comes from a long time of preparation. — Ai Weiwei
Destroy or build. Crazy or noncrazy. I'm not nostalgic about the old city. I don't enjoy it that much. — Ai Weiwei
We have to give our opinion, we have to say something, or we are a part of it. As an artist I am forced to say something. — Ai Weiwei
The rest of the world understands little about China's changes and the possibilities and crises that come with them. — Ai Weiwei
China has a rich history that has spanned millennia. It consists of the histories of many nations and regions. — Ai Weiwei
Maybe [success] is because I'm in China and I'm more open. Maybe it's my independent behavior, or because I participated in certain projects. I have no idea. — Ai Weiwei
Chinese government is very clearly losing power in every aspect, but trying to fix up all the problems or potential problems. — Ai Weiwei
Society becomes very destructive. — Ai Weiwei
China partially wants to become part of the world. By hosting the Olympics and the Expo, they made a big effort to tell people: Look, we are the same. They want to be accepted by the international community. — Ai Weiwei
Life Lessons by Ai Weiwei
- Ai Weiwei's work encourages us to think critically about the role of art in society and to use our creativity to challenge existing power structures.
- He also reminds us to stay true to our beliefs and to never stop fighting for justice and freedom.
- Through his work, Ai Weiwei shows us the power of art to create meaningful dialogue and to bring about social change.
Which quote resonated with you best? Did you enjoy our collection of Ai Weiwei quotes? Or may be you have a quotation about Ai Weiwei to suggest. Let us know using our contact form.
About the author
This collection is managed by Quotlr Team, with an extensive background in quote curation. They have meticulously gathered, researched, and compiled the quotes featured on this page. Every quote has been diligently cross-verified for its origin, its authenticity, and its potential influence on our readership.
Feel free to cite and use any of the quotes by Ai Weiwei. For popular citation styles (APA, Chicago, MLA), go to citation page.
Embed HTML Link
Copy and paste this HTML code in your webpage