Three glass sculptures by artist Ai Weiwei were snatched from an exhibition at a gallery in Hamburg, Germany, in a daytime robbery.
From Friday, local authorities are still appealing to the public for any information that could lead to the perpetrator of the robbery at the Lumas Galerie, located in the city’s upmarket shopping street, Neuer Well. Gallery security alarms would have did not alert staff of removal of works from display during opening hours.
A hotline has been set up for “witnesses who have made observations in this context or who can provide information about the author or the location of the sculptures”, according to the Hamburg police. website.
The artworks – red, yellow and orange reproductions by the artist’s hand – were each listed for €9,500 (about $10,000) on the Lumas website. The trio refers to the famous series of photographs by the Chinese dissident artist, Perspective study (1995-2017), in which his middle finger is raised to politically charged monuments and sites around the world.
The most notorious entry in the series, titled Perspective Study: Tian’anmen (1997)was taken in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were killed by military troops in 1989. More recently, this photograph has come under criticism from pro-Beijing politicians who claimed it violated the controversial Mainland China policy. National Security Act. Last year, the new M+ contemporary art museum in Hong Kong said the work would not be on display as part of its highly anticipated opening.
Following retaliation from the Chinese government for his years-long activism, Ai and his family moved to Berlin in 2015. He decided to leave Germany in 2019, publicly stating that his adopted country had become intolerant of refugees. Although he has a studio in the German capital, he has relocated to the UK.