Fairytale is a documentary film by the well-known Chinese artist, architect, curator and documentary filmmaker Ai Weiwei. It documents his project Fairytale for Europe's most innovative five-year art event Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany in 2007: Ai Weiwei invited 1001 Chinese citizens of different ages and from various backgrounds to Germany to experience their own fairytale for 28 days. Fairytale was judged one of the most sensational artworks at the Documenta 12.
The 152-minute film documents the whole process beginning with the preparations for the project, through the challenges that the participants had to face, up to the actual journey to Germany, as well as the artist's ideas behind the work.
"This is a work I emotionally relate to. It grows and it surprised me."
—Ai Weiwei in Fairytale
Ai Weiwei's daily concerns and experiences with China's cultural and historical space of reference and today's political and social developments in his homeland constitute key elements of this work. He attempts to reach the very essence of China's traditional cultural production. By appropriating and changing the historically shaped cultural languages and their forms and contents, Ai Weiwei often consciously destroys and reconstructs them–thus expanding the contemporary contexts in which the cultural and aesthetic use of materials and meanings are constituted. His most recent wood and porcelain series is about a new understanding of traditional cultural forms and aesthetic processes.