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Ai Weiwei art opens Stockholm Film Festival

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Ai Weiwei art opens Stockholm Film Festival
One of Ai Weiwei's sculptures. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
14:59 CET+01:00
The Stockholm Film Festival is underway after two ice sculptures by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei were unveiled on Tuesday as the event marked its 25th anniversary.

China’s most famous international artist and most outspoken domestic critic collaborated with Sweden's Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi to create the sculptures which were revealed in Stockholm on Tuesday afternoon.

Currently under house arrest in China, he sent sketches over to the Icehotel's sculptors, who completed the artwork over ten days.

Two pieces were created. Each weighs two tonnes and is more than two metres tall.

They were revealed at Stockholm Film Festival's opening ceremony at Norrmalmstorg in central Stockholm.

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The Stockholm Film Festival programme runs from November 5th - November 16th 2014 and will feature 201 films from 60 countries.

Hollywood actress Uma Thurman will grace the red carpet before she picks up the Stockholm Achievement Award.


Ai Weiwei is under house arrest in China. Photo: TT

Spectators flocked to see the Ai Weiwei sculptures as the festival got underway on Tuesday.
 
Alison Varley, a Londoner, said she was a big fan of films, particularly the "unusual ones" and was enjoying the opening ceremony.
 
"The short film screening draws you in and the lions are intriguing," she told The Local, pointing specifically to the oriental influences. 
 
"It makes you think about how we’re different but how different cultures, different age groups, and different professions can come together. People stop on their way home and it doesn't matter who we are."
 
Klara Mattsson, also on the scene, said the ice sculptures were a performance in themselves.  
 
"You watch the ice melt. The theme of the festival is Hope and the symbolism being that warmth/heat melts ice. It's reflecting Ai Weiwei's relationship to China," she explained.
 
Ai Weiwei was also a member of the Film Festival's jury last year even though he wasn’t allowed to leave China.

He sent a symbol of his absence in the form of an empty chair. This year he was tasked with making a contribution to represent Hope, a key theme for the festival.

Ai Weiwei is considered one of the most influential and subversive artists of his time, with art exhibitions all over the world, including at the Tate Modern in London, Jeu de Paume in Paris, and Martin Gropius in Berlin.

 
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