China's Ai Weiwei to show bamboo structures, kites for first time in France

China's Ai Weiwei to show bamboo structures, kites for first time in France
PHOTO: Social Services

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei will display his huge bamboo structures for the first time in France, the upscale Parisian department store that will host the exhibition said Wednesday.

The show at Bon Marche, called "Er Xi, Air de Jeux" ("Child's Play") will run from January 16 to February 20 and will centre on the theme of childhood - with pieces including the bamboo structures, 3D dragons and kites.

"Exhibiting at the Bon Marche is using a new medium, a big store, to meet a new audience, as large as a museum's, but which in principle does not come to see art," the Berlin-based artist said on the store's website.

The 3D figures are made of bamboo and delicate white tissue paper and are inspired by Chinese mythology.

"This exhibition allows me to work under different constraints from those in a museum or gallery," Ai said.

Ai, China's most prominent contemporary artist, was detained in 2011 for 81 days over his advocacy of democracy and human rights as well as other criticisms of the government in Beijing.

Following the detention, he was placed under house arrest and his passport was taken away. The document was only returned in July this year, enabling him to travel overseas.

Last week, the 58-year-old announced plans to create a memorial on the Greek island of Lesbos after meeting some of the many migrants there who risked their lives to reach Europe.

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