Renowned Chinese artist to go on display in Cuenca cathedral

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INFLUENTIAL: Ai Weiwei is notorious both as an artist and activist.

CUENCA’S Gothic cathedral is to host its first modern art exhibition, with an installation by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei to go on display from July 26.

Entitled SACRED, the exhibit portrays his experience of being incarcerated in solitary confinement for 81 days in 2011, and comprises half-a-dozen large iron boxes, each of which contains sculptures depicting scenes from his desolate detention.

These include portrayals of him under interrogation by prison officers, being watched while he used the bathroom, and sleeping on his cot.

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The display was previously on show at Venice’s Art Biennale, the biennial contemporary visual art exhibition held in odd-numbered years, and will remain on display in the Castile-La Mancha capital until November 6.

It forms part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating the fourth centenary of legendary writer Miguel de Cervantes’ death, who was imprisoned in Algiers for five years among other stints behind bars.

Carmen Olivie, the general director of cultural management brand Eulen Art, who are organising the exhibition, said: “There are important parallels between Cervantes and Ai Weiwei.

“Both suffered captivity, both suffered deprivation of liberty, and that profoundly marked their lives and their vision of art.”

Ai Weiwei is China’s most illustrious contemporary artist, and was detained by authorities over his championing of democracy and criticism of the government, despite having previously helped design the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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