On April 3, 2011, Ai Weiwei was arrested at the Beijing Capital International Airport. A black hood was placed over his head and he was transported to an unknown location. His next 81- days were spent in secret detention, with around the clock monitoring by military police and constant interrogations. S.A.C.R.E.D. is a work that reflects upon this period of imprisonment. The work uses material from Ai’s music video “Dumbass,” a surrealist but exact recreation of Ai’s confinement. In another clip, Ai’s mother, Gao Ying, visits the Venice Biennale in 2013 where Ai exhibited a scale diorama that replicated six daily scenes from detention.
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Quote:I became the ultimate enemy of the established power
Without a crime.
- Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist (b. 1957)
Ai Weiwei and Zuoxiao Zuzhou, “Dumbass” from The Divine Comedy, 2013
In 2011, Chinese authorities imprisoned Ai Weiwei for 81 days in a secret location without ling any o cial charges against him. During his period of imprisonment, Ai was constantly interrogated and put under twenty-four hour surveil- lance, accompanied by two guards who never left his side even when he used the toilet or went to sleep.nIn S.A.C.R.E.D. (2011-2013), Ai created his tetention in a six-part work, made from breglass and encased in iron. Each of the letters in S.A.C.R.E.D. stands for a di erent episode of his experience: Supper, Accusers, Cleansing, Ritual, Entropy and Doubt.