At an art show in Beijing on Wednesday, organizers reserved a blank gallery wall for artist Ai WeiWei, who has been detained by the Chinese government since April. The empty space at the CCD300 Modern Art and Design Center was marked with a small, unobtrusive card bearing Ai WeiWei’s name. Though subtle, this supportive gesture nonetheless drew the attention of Beijing police.
Artists Lin Bing and Fei Xiaosheng were subsequently detained and questioned after the show’s opening, gallery employee Yang Xiaoyan told Reuters. “Lin Bing has already returned, but Fei has yet to be in contact.” Neither artist could be reached by mobile phone.
As reported by Reuters, users of Chinese microblogging site Weibo are claiming two other artists associated with the show, Wang Jun and Zhang Feng, were also questioned by police.
The CCD300 exhibit was part of the third annual Incidental Art Festival. According to Lin Bing, Ai WeiWei would have participated in this year’s show if not for his detention. The missing artist and political dissenter had contributed to a previous show.
The Incidental Art Festival featured photography, video art and conceptual pieces. The show’s opening came just days before the 22nd anniversary of the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
The New York Times reports that authorities forced the gallery to close the show on Thursday afternoon. “The whole thing has been canceled and everything has already been taken down,” Yang told the Times.
Photo credit: Daniel Lobo