Ai Weiwei video installation played at Piccadilly Circus

A video art installation by Ai Weiwei has been played on large screen at London’s Piccadilly Circus.

The artwork explores his formative experiences of living in the US and his friendships with fellow artist Andy Warhol and writer Allen Ginsberg.

New York Days was the first episode in the artist’s 30-part series, which is being played daily on the large screen in the city centre of the capital.

CIRCA digital art exhibition
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Chinese artist’s videos will explore his career from the 70s through to the present day.

Weiwei said he is “always interested” in displaying public artworks and he thought the project was a “great idea” when he was approached by organisers Circa 20:20.

“We made a big effort, the whole studio, to research archives and to come up with the pieces,” he told the PA news agency.

Weiwei described London as “charming”.

Julian Assange extradition
Ai Weiwei (Victoria Jones/PA)

“London gave me the chance to have a few important shows,” he said.

“The Tate Modern is the first museum to collect my major works and they gave me the most encouragement I ever had.”

Weiwei’s work will be displayed at 8.20pm each evening, with each video lasting for two minutes.

The display is also being streamed live online.

As part of the Circa 20:20 series a different artist take over Piccadilly Circus each month for the rest of the year.

Justine Simons, London’s deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries, said: “London has a proud culture of public art, which I am glad is continuing to enable Londoners and visitors to engage with artworks in a safe and innovative way.

“I am delighted London is hosting this dynamic installation by Ai Weiwei – displayed at one of the capital’s most famous locations, it will be accessible for all to enjoy.”

Sir Norman Rosenthal, who chairs the Circa advisory board, said: “Piccadilly Lights, with its more than 100 years of famous history with electrically generated advertising, is still capable of speaking to the world.

“It is wonderfully exciting that now, artists young and established, will be able to use this platform for surprise and enlightenment in these most special of times.”

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