Ai Weiwei corpse sculpture freaks out Germans

ai-weiwei-statue-gi.jpgIt's a natural reaction. Several passers-by who happened to catch a glimpse of the new He Xiangyu sculpture, "The Death of Marat," in Bad Ems, Germany, alerted authorities after seeing what they believed was a dead body. It turns out, though, that it's actually a statue representing the very much alive Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

He, a fellow Chinese artist, tells TIME.com the sculpture of a suited Weiwei lying face down on the floor, is intended to honor Weiwei's continued defiance of the Chinese goverment. In April, Weiwei was jailed for 81 days by Chinese authorities.

"Several people had already called within days of the exhibition going up," said Peter Steger, a spokesman for the police in Bad Ems, tells TIME.com. Another local apparently filed charges for "disturbing the peace of the dead."

Weiwei, meanwhile, is again facing another government ultimatum -- the artist says he's been presented with a $2.4 million tax bill in unpaid back taxes and fines. Weiwei, reports the Christian Science Monitor, has 10 days to pay the bill before something unspecified -- possibly a return to jail -- happens.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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