Ai underwent surgery to repair a cerebral hemorrhage last month in Munich, where an exhibition of his work opens at the Haus der Kunst next Monday. According to the artist, the hemorrhage was a result of a beating by Chinese police in Sichuan province, where Ai was attending the trial of a fellow dissident who, together with Ai, was trying to uncover the names of children who died in last year's earthquake. The artist has shared thoughts and photos from his hospital stay on Twitter.
Ai cited health reasons as the "main reason" for his cancellation, telling the Sueddeutsche that he's still recovering from his operation, but that he also has "no real desire for empty and pointless political debate."
China is the "guest of honor" of this year's fair, but there's been concern leading up to the opening on Oct. 14. about the inclusion of Chinese dissidents and critical voices. Ai's appearance was highly anticipated, the Sueddeutsche reports, adding that it's unknown whether the Chinese government put pressure on Ai to cancel.
Read more at Sueddeutsche Zeitung.