In Forcalquier, a small village in the Alps of Upper Provence, not far from Manosque and Aix-en-Provence, a Chinese artist Kegang Liang decided to collect a jar of fresh air that he then sold for the tidy sum of 610 Euros at an auction held in Beijing. His goal was to denounce the persistence of air pollution in China, particularly in Beijing, the city where he resides: “Air should be a commodity with no value, accessible to all, no matter whether you are a vagrant or a beggar", he explained in the columns of the British newspaper, The Guardian.
As for his motivation, Liang Kegang added that he wanted to express his anger at the pollution occurring in China: “This is my way of opening the debate on the foul air in China and expressing my discontent". The winner of the auction, the artist Li Yongzheng, confirmed this and pointed to the seriousness of the situation: “In recent times, both in Beijing, Chengdu and other Chinese cities, air pollution is a serious problem that this artwork perfectly illustrates".
This is not the first time an artist has denounced the pollution in China. Last March, twenty Beijing artists equipped with masks also did so, staging their own deaths in the heart of the Chinese capital by lying on the ground before the altar of the Temple of Heaven. An impressive gesture that makes an impact, alerting the Chinese authorities to what is now a recurrent problem.