Thursday, 22 November 2012

Anish Kapoor does a Gangnam Style in support of Ai Weiwei

Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor has made a rousing (and funny!) video in support of prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. 

Amnesty International activists and various artists gathered at Anish Kapoor’s London studio this week to shoot a parody of South Korean rapper Psy’s mega hit Gangnam Style film in support of Ai.  Ai’s had done his own version last month, featuring the original video interspersed with clips of him and friends doing the popular dance, wearing handcuffs to represent the lack of freedom of speech in China. The film was immediately removed from the web by the Chinese authorities.
Kapoor’s parody version, called "Gangnam for Freedom", was choreographed by Akram Khan, who helped craft the Olympic opening ceremony for London 2012.  Leading figures from the arts, including artists Mark Wallinger, Bob and Roberta Smith and Tom Phillips, dancers Tamara Rojo and Deborah Bull, Southbank Centre Director Jude Kelly, made cameo appearances.  

The video also includes contributions sent from MoMA, Guggenheim, New Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Helen Bamber; Hanif Kurieshi, and many others.  
Kapoor, who sported a brigh pink T-shirt in the video, said: “Our film aims to make a serious point about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It is our hope that this gesture of support for Ai Weiwei and all prisoners of conscience will be wide-ranging and will help to emphasize how important these freedoms are to us all.” 
The film has won support from various human rights organizations, among them, Amnesty, Liberty, Index on Censorship and The Helen Bamber Foundation.  
Museums and organizations around the world will be screening the film, including the ICA who will be showing the film prior to each feature shown in their cinema from Friday, for two weeks.

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