Anish Kapoor May Drop Out of Yinchuan Biennale Over Exclusion of Ai Weiwei

"I've been struggling with it, to be honest," says the artist.

Ai Weiwei (L) and Anish Kapoor march in solidarity with migrants on September 17, 2015 in London. Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images.

As the inaugural edition of China’s Yinchuan Biennale approaches its September 9 opening, the exhibition may find itself one artist down. Anish Kapoor is considering withdrawing his work from the fledgling biennial in protest of the exclusion of Ai Weiwei.

In August, the Chinese dissident artist claimed that his work would not be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan for political reasons.

“Since they’ve excluded Weiwei, I think it’s problematic,” Kapoor told journalists at a lunch at Seoul’s Kukje Gallery, where his current exhibition, “Gathering Clouds,” is on view until October 30. “To be honest, I’m wondering if I’m going to take part.”

“I think we need stand against [censorship],” he added. “So even though the work’s on the way, I’m not sure we’ll open.”

The biennial was originally slated to feature 73 artists, including Dana Awartani, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Santiago Sierra, and Song Dong.

British sculptor Anish Kapoor poses in front of his work prior to the opening of the "Kapoor in Berlin" exhibition on May 17, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

British sculptor Anish Kapoor poses in front of his work prior to the opening of the “Kapoor in Berlin” exhibition on May 17, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Courtesy of Adam Berry/Getty Images.

Kapoor seems to be heavily leaning towards pulling his work from the exhibition. “There isn’t an argument in favor of doing it, sadly,” he said, before allowing that “one wants to support these things. It’s a fledgling biennale, they’re trying to do the right thing, I think, but censorship is not acceptable.”

When asked when he would make a final decision, Kapoor was not sure. “Tomorrow, today, now?” he said. “But I do feel it’s important. I’ve been struggling with it, to be honest.”

“To take part,” Kapoor added, “means to be on the side of the authorities and to collude with it, and I’m not sure one can.”


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