Ai Weiwie has been documenting the demolition of his Bejing studio over the past 4 days on Instagram. His first post, exceeding 21,000 views, captures the first moments of the deconstruction, which Weiwei claims he had not been given any prior notice of. According to the BBC, Weiwei’s assistant, Gang Ra, said that his rental contract for the building ended last year but that it “simply wasn’t possible” to move out at the time because of the amount of works still present. This is not the first time the artist lost one of his studios without notice. Back in 2011, neighbors phoned Weiwei about heavy machinery noises coming from his studio. By the time he arrived at the location in Shanghai from Bejing, where he lived, about 80% of his studio was destroyed.
Weiwei, who now lives in Germany, is a strong critic of China’s government. He was arrested in 2011 in a government crackdown which targeted dozens of bloggers, human rights lawyers, and writers that the government feared would launch a “jasmine revolution,” a protest against corruption, poverty and political repression in Tunisia, North Africa.