British artist Kapoor 'thrilled' but wary after Ai release

23rd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Renowned British sculptor Anish Kapoor on Thursday said he was "thrilled" that China had released artist Ai Weiwei but urged supporters to "keep campaigning" to ensure his freedom.

Kapoor, who last week pulled out of a planned show in China due to Ai's detention, called on fellow artists not to show in China and added that he suspected Ai had been forced into a confession.

"We must keep campaigning to ensure his freedom," the British sculptor told The Times. "We have to carry on making a noise. We must be strident: I call on every artist not to show in China."

Outspoken artist Ai was released on bail in Beijing Wednesday nearly three months after he was detained during the government's biggest crackdown on activists in years.

Police released him after he confessed to tax evasion and because he suffers from a "chronic disease", the official Xinhua news agency said.

"For all we know Ai has been coerced into confessing," continued Kapoor. "I don't believe he evaded tax, and I don't believe they released him because of his "confession" or because they were "concerned" about his health.

"As we know, these are the standard excuses," added the British artist.

Fellow British artist Grayson Perry said Ai's release was "good news" while former Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller warned the West to "keep an eye on things".

"It's a way to please us in the West," said Deller. "I'm sure they're using his family and his son as a way of pressuring him".

© 2011 AFP

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