The Financial Times did a quick video with Ai Weiwei at his home and studio compound. During their visit we discover that the artist has been issuing IOUs to the numerous supporters who stepped forward to help pay the tax bill government officials claim he failed to pay.
In the room with us are a group of volunteers who are using traditional Chinese brushes to write names in beautiful calligraphy on ornate documents that look like receipts.
It turns out these are IOU notes for the 30,000 Chinese citizens who have sent Ai a combined total of around Rmb9m (£900,000) to help him pay a tax bill that the government slapped him with when it finally released him from what independent lawyers say was an illegal detention without charge.
“Tax crimes should be investigated by the tax bureau, not through secret police detention,” Ai says. “Everyone understands that mine is a political case and tax has just been used as an excuse to justify their actions.”
As with almost every aspect of his life, Ai has turned his detention and subsequent tax charges into a spectacular and intricate piece of performance art, of which the beautiful IOU notes are just one part.
At Home: Ai Weiwei (Financial Times)