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China holds co-director of Gwangju Biennale

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation of Korea yesterday expressed regret over the Chinese police’s detention of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and urged Beijing to make public the current situation of Ai, who is co-director of Gwangju Design Biennale 2011.

Ai, who is known for his outspoken criticism of China’s ruling Communist Party, was arrested at Beijing’s airport on Sunday morning as he prepared to board a flight abroad.

Since then, his wife and assistants have had no news about the whereabouts or situation of the 53-year-old artist, according to the Gwangju Biennale Foundation and foreign news wires.

His wife asked Chinese authorities about the reason for his detention but was given no answer, the foundation said.

“We regret that China has arrested the co-director of the international design exhibition Gwangju Design Biennale without clear reason,” the foundation said in a statement yesterday. “Beijing should make public Ai’s whereabouts and guarantee his safety.”

“One of Ai’s assistants called us,” said Hong Ji-young, public relations head at the foundation. “The assistant said 10 police officers searched Ai’s studio and residence in Beijing on the same day he was detained and most digital files and computers in the studio were seized.”

It is unclear whether Ai will attend an international academy about the Gwangju Design Biennale at T. Art Center in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone on Friday, which he is supposed to chair, the foundation said. But the academy will be held regardless of his attendance and the biannual exhibition will be also held in September as scheduled, it added.

“It is very regrettable and embarrassing to arrest the co-director of the international event in this way,” Hong said.

The Gwangju Biennale is Korea’s largest contemporary art show and one of the oldest and biggest regular art events in Asia.

Source: Korea Joongang Daily
Source: Korea Joongang Daily
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