Together, these quotes span some of the most revealing moments of Ai Weiwei's eventful career--from his risky investigation into student deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to his arbitrary arrest in 2011--providing a window into the mind of one of the world's most electrifying and courageous contemporary artists.
Select Quotes from the Book:
On Freedom of Expression
- "Say what you need to say plainly, and then take responsibility for it."
- "A small act is worth a million thoughts."
- "Liberty is about our rights to question everything."
On Art and Activism
- "Everything is art. Everything is politics."
- "The art always wins. Anything can happen to me, but the art will stay."
- "Life is art. Art is life. I never separate it. I don't feel that much anger. I equally have a lot of joy."
On Government, Power, and Making Moral Choices
- "Once you've tasted freedom, it stays in your heart and no one can take it. Then, you can be more powerful than a whole country."
- "I feel powerless all the time, but I regain my energy by making a very small difference that won't cost me much."
- "Tips on surviving the regime: Respect yourself and speak for others. Do one small thing every day to prove the existence of justice."
On the Digital World
- "Only with the Internet can a peasant I have never met hear my voice and I can learn what's on his mind. A fairy tale has come true."
- "The Internet is uncontrollable. And if the Internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It's as simple as that."
- "The Internet is the best thing that could have happened to China."
On History, the Historical Moment, and the Future
- "If a nation cannot face its past, it has no future."
- "We need to get out of the old language."
- "The world is a sphere, there is no East or West."
- "I've never planned any part of my career-- except being an artist. And I was pushed into that corner because I thought being an artist was the only way to have a little freedom."
- "Anyone fighting for freedom does not want to totally lose their freedom."
- "Expressing oneself is like a drug. I'm so addicted to it."