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China's Ai Weiwei to design Mermaid substitute

2009. 5 May

COPENHAGEN (AP)A video installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will replace Copenhagen's famed Little Mermaid statue when it goes on display at the World Expo in Shanghai next year, officials said Tuesday.

The Danish Expo secretariat picked Ai's project over three other entries in a design competition. It will be set up on the location in the Copenhagen harbor where the landmark statue currently stands.

Officials released few details about the video installation, but said it "registers, documents and articulates the movements and changes that take place during the months when the mermaid is away."

The Little Mermaid statue will be the centerpiece of the Danish pavilion at the 2010 World Expo. Copenhagen's city council approved the temporary move, even though many Danes oppose it.

"We picked his project because it thematized the loan of the sculpture, the content of his piece is that the mermaid is gone," said Maria Fabricius Hansen of the Danish secretariat.

Ai was a consultant for the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, but disassociated himself from the design, calling it a "fake smile" to hide China's social and political problems.

The Little Mermaid, inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, is one of Denmark's biggest tourist attractions. The 5-foot (1.52-meter) mermaid statue was created by Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen.

Source AP