In honor of the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear disaster that devastated the region, Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom created a group exhibition titled Don't Follow the Wind inside three buildings within the Fukushima exclusion zone. Ai Weiwei was a participating artist and The Creators Project interviewed him to speak about his art and his get his general impressions about the theme of the project. Here are excerpts from that interview:
I am an artist. My artistic method and also it's—you could say that both subject matter and my methods are not confined to one style, but rather take many forms. Each piece is different, even styled with different time periods or problems that have caught my attention in mind. There is a big change.
I have a great many interests—from simple, experienced perceptions of daily life to more complicated themes like aesthetics or sociology. My work touches on all of these. I have pieces based on both written language and pictures. I have even done documentaries, installations, and sculptures. Sound-based pieces. Basically, I explore all modes of expression.
The nuclear leak in Fukushima, Japan was a really serious incident. Because, as we all know, satisfying modern energy needs in the world, and nuclear energy itself, both come with potential dangers. These are guaranteed to capture people's attention because the devastation that could possibly result is massive. On this topic, everyone will feel worried for this world. Because we still use a large amount of nuclear energy. The potential dangers of it have always existed.
When this Japanese organization [Chim↑Pom], an artist organization, contacted me and asked me to do this piece, I told them that I really need at least half a year or more to finish.
As I was saying, it was the nuclear leak issue that caught my interest. In many ways, there was a connection between this program and my past work. One way was the themes that this piece touched on and how it touched on some real-life problems. For me, this was very new.
I was very interested in the possibility of this project's development. All pieces of art themselves are some kind of invasion. Their relationship is a kind of disturbance or invasion of reality. They call into question or pose questions to reality. Or sometimes they are a kind of criticism. My work also has this kind of function.
Nuclear radiation itself is a threat to humanity—a disaster. Then, the mode of expression for this disaster should have an appropriate relationship to it. I think that nuclear energy and nuclear radiation are problems for all of humanity, a collective issue. It is not limited by nationality.
Watch the documentary on Don't Follow the Wind below: