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Bring your Lego to RA courtyard, says Ai Weiwei

Published 28 October 2015

In response to the toy company’s refusal to sell him a bulk order of Lego, Ai Weiwei is crowd-sourcing the bricks for a new installation.

  • Earlier this week, China’s most famous artist declared an act of “censorship and discrimination”. Posting the news on Instagram, it wasn’t long until he had made international headlines and roused troupes of supporters across social media.

    Ai’s studio shared the news that Lego had refused to sell the artist a bulk order of bricks for a new installation, on the basis that the project was of a political nature. Citing their corporate policy not to “indicate their approval of any unaffiliated activities”, Lego stated their regret that they were “not in a position to support” the request to supply the bricks, which were for an installation at an upcoming exhibition in Melbourne.

    Offers to donate Lego quickly poured in from around the world. The artist has responded by creating a series of “collection points” – second-hand BMWs which are to be filled with the public’s pre-loved Lego. Writing on Instagram, Ai’s studio said that the artist “has decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and ‘political art’.”

  • Ai Weiwei shares news of Lego's refusal on Instagram

    Ai Weiwei shares news of Lego's refusal on Instagram

    The toy company cited their corporate policy in refusing to supply Ai Weiwei with a bulk order of bricks for an upcoming installation

  • Today, his UK collection point is announced as the RA courtyard – joining Tree, the crowd-funded installation brought here with a successful Kickstarter campaign. This parked BMW – a second-hand 5 series sedan – follows the placement of cars at his studio in Beijing, The Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. News of the work the Lego will be used to create, and of further collection points around the world, is to be announced in due course.

    The car will be in the RA courtyard from Friday 30 October until the end of November 2015. Lego donations can also be made by post to Ai Weiwei Lego Project, Lisson Gallery, 52 Bell Street, London, NW1 5BU.

    Ai Weiwei is in the Main Galleries from 19 September — 13 December 2015.