Over the last three days, Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei has taken to his Instagram account to chronicle the forcible demolition of his Beijing studio, reportedly at the hands of Chinese officials. Located in a former factory building, the space has served as the artist's main studio since 2006.
"Today, they started to demolish my studio 'zuo you' in Beijing with no precaution, which I have as my main studio since 2006." Ai captioned an Aug. 3 video. "It is a [sic] East German style socialist factory building. Farewell."
Though Ai's lease of the space expired last fall, his team was only given a few days notice by officials to vacate the studio, and much of the art was still inside at the time of demolition, according to an Agence French Press article. Ai has lived in Berlin for the last three years, where he moved after he was detained for 81 days in 2011 amid a Chinese government crackdown on critics of country leaders.
For the studio's demolition, "they came and started knocking down the windows today without telling us beforehand. There's still so much stuff inside," said Ai's assistant Ga Rang in the Agence French Press article. "The authorities say they want to develop things here, build malls and commercial buildings. But it's a shame—you won't ever find a place in Beijing like this again."
This is not the first time Ai has lost a studio to demolition. In 2011, crews arrived to raze Shanghai outpost without warning. At the time, he alleged this decision was due to his political activism.