"I think there is a responsibility for any artist to protect freedom of expression."
While this quote appears in the end of the documentary as part of an interview with BBC Radio 1 in 2011, it perfectly encapsulates Ai Weiwei's philosophy.
A Study in Perspective is one of Ai's most controversial series, where he photographed himself flipping off Tiananmen Square, The White House, The Eiffel Tower, and other important monuments. The documentary explains it as his way of rebelling against government authority that disregards the freedoms of its citizens.
The photograph of Ai Weiwei's wife holding up her skirt in Tiananmen Square is equally controversial, and was included in The Black Cover Book of 1994. Ai created and secretly distributed The White Cover Book and The Grey Cover Book upon his return from New York to Beijing in 1993 to collectively demonstrate contemporary, avant-garde art and artists in China. The books also introduced the work of Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, and Marcel Duchamp to the community who "had to know someone" to get one of the books. Following these books, Ai organized a group show in 2000 called FUCK OFF that included experimental and performance art, displaying a multitude of issues concerning the art world.
In both his individual projects and collective curation, Ai Weiwei has demonstrated his passion for contemporary Chinese art and its power to be politically and socially important.