Ai Weiwei will present Human Flow

The artist and director will be at Lucerna for the premiere of the film

Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei will present the Czech premiere of his film Human Flow at kinoLucerna on Dec. 14 at 7:30. The artist, as well as National Gallery director Jiří Fajt, will also be present for a discussion in English after the film. The 140-minute documentary is in English with Czech subtitles.

The National Gallery is behind the screening. The film is being shown in conjunction with Ai Weiwei’s large-scale installation called Law of the Journey, which is at Veletržní palác until Jan. 7, 2018. The main part of the exhibition is a long, oversized raft made of black rubber, filled with anonymous figures and taking up one of the larger open spaces of Veletržní palác.

“There’s no refugee crisis, but only a human crisis. … In dealing with refugees we’ve lost our very basic values,” Ai Weiwei said of his installation. “In this time of uncertainty, we need more tolerance, compassion, and trust for each other since we all are one. Otherwise, humanity will face an even bigger crisis.”

In the film Human Flow, Ai Weiwei looks at the current refugee crisis and the impact on those involved. The artist followed human stories over the course of one year in 23 countries including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany, and Iraq.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September and is slowly making its way around the world.

The film has earned mostly positive reviews. “Ai Weiwei has made something beautiful: Human Flow is neither indulgent nor pedantic, but clear-eyed in its view of the enormity of the crisis too vast for most of us to comprehend,” Murray Whyte said in the Toronto Star.

The human aspect appealed to many viewers. “Through brief but intimate exchanges, Ai brings the individuals behind the statistics into focus,” Wendy Ide said in the UK’s Observer.

Some critics commented on the length but still praised the film. “Ai's long series of desolate vistas is more exhausting than seems necessary. Still, there's much to be said for a film that gives such a strong sense of how vast the refugee problem is,” Edward Porter said in the UK’s Sunday Times.

Ai Weiwei was last in Prague for the opening of his Law of the Journey exhibition in March. He previously showed his Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads in front of Veletržní palác.

He is China’s best-known contemporary artist and one of the most significant artists worldwide. In the 1970s, he became a part of the influential Chinese avant-garde artistic collective the Stars (Xingxing), whose famous 1979 unofficial exhibition was shut down by government officials.

He immigrated to the US in 1981, where, living mostly in New York for over a decade, he developed an interest in readymade sculpture, commercial imagery, and conceptual art.

In addition to visual art, he has also undertaken a career in architecture and has long been involved in political activism.

He has received a number of prestigious international awards, including the Human Rights Foundation’s 2012 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, the 2013 Appraiser’s Association Award for Excellence in the Arts, and Amnesty International’s 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award.

For more information on Human Flow, visit www.facebook.com/events or www.kinolucerna.cz.

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