Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist, found himself in Paris for the first time since 2003 this weekend for the opening of his exhibition Er Xi, or Child’s Play.
Rather than being hosted in a museum or gallery, Er Xi found its home in the upscale Parisian department store Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, where dozens of handcrafted mythical creatures made from bamboo and silk now hang in windows and from the ceiling of the store’s grand atrium.
Le Bon Marché reportedly invited the artist to showcase his work and the exhibition marks Weiwei’s first in a retail environment.
How much Le Bon Marché is paying Weiwei remains a secret. ‘“Art is a value-added thing that we give our clients,”’ Mr. Bodenes, the artistic director of the store told the New York Times. ‘“And one never reveals how much a gift costs.”’
One visitor to Er Xi was Paris Hilton, who was treated to a private tour of the exhibition by Weiwei. The pair it would seem, are unlikely friends.