He believes that VW advertising demonstrates the desire of corporations to make profits over people, although his installation is about the problem of refugees in Europe.
Ai Weiwei said that he filed a lawsuit against a Volkswagen in Denmark for copyright infringement. He believes that the German carmaker in 2017, without permission, used his installation with life jackets as a background in his advertising. This is the artist said in his Instagram.
According to Weiwei, Volkswagen used his work called Soleil Levant to distribute to more than 200 thousand people. Thus, the company created the false impression that Weiwei allowed Volkswagen to use his work of art in advertising, the artist specified.
“On the way to Copenhagen to attend the court hearing in our case against Volkswagen”
According to Weiwei, he had been negotiating with a car concern for more than a year, but they came to nothing. Volkswagen “was only engaged in arrogant gestures to devalue his guilt and reject the case,” the artist added.
The installation was used as a background for the orange VW Polo without my knowledge or permission from a company that imports Volkswagen cars to Denmark. These actions are a clear violation of my intellectual property and moral rights, but, more importantly, they raise broader issues of corporate power and responsibility in our era of global capitalism.
Ai Weiwei painter
A spokesman for Volkswagen told the Danish Ritzau news agency that using Weiwei’s work was a “coincidence.” According to him, the ads were filmed in various beautiful places around Copenhagen, including opposite the installation with vests, which Weiwei created for World Refugee Day in 2017 on the facade of the Charlottenborg exhibition hall.
The artist told The Guardian that the theme of the installation is the problem of refugees in Europe. He believes that it embodies many of the alleged conflicts between civilizations today, and VW advertising “undermines his artistic reputation and his whole life of work for the protection of human rights.”
This is a serious problem for Europe, not only from the point of view of its physical boundaries, but also from the point of view of the idea: Europe as a bulwark of human rights, human dignity, freedom of speech and the rule of law.
Currently, the refugee situation is the greatest test for European ideals, since they were formulated by the UN after the Second World War.
Ai Weiwei painter