Ai Weiwei: Fairytale
Edited by Salome Schnetz. Text by Daniel Birnbaum, Roger M. Buergel, Christian Höller.
In 2007, Ai Weiwei (born 1957) presented a surprising new project titled Fairytale at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany. He invited 1001 Chinese citizens of different ages and from various backgrounds to travel to Germany, all expenses paid, to experience their own fairytale holiday for 28 days. The logistics for this project were complex and entailed a hefty budget, as the artist later recalled, enumerating the considerations: “to design the trip and activities for the tourists, to hope to get their passports, their visas, their insurance and air tickets, to organize the place where they can live in Kassel, to hire cooks, make products which are connected to the journey and would be needed for it...” Happily, Fairytale was a runaway success for the artist, the participants and for Documenta. It was judged by critics to be one of the most sensational artworks at Documenta that year, and led to an acclaimed documentary and global media coverage. This publication offers critical analyses of the project from Roger M. Buergel, Daniel Birnbaum, Christian Höller, Raphael Gygax and Ai Weiwei himself.