Ulla von Brandenburg, Two Times Seven II, 2018; Fabrics, ropes, ladder, wooden benches, fishing rods, super 16mm film to HD video, colour, sound (10')

For its 14th edition, the Croisements 2019 Festival is bringing its cutting-edge program to more than 30 cities across China. Once again, the festival will celebrate artistic encounters between France and China, in all disciplines and spanning all eras. The event is being supported by three Chinese celebrities, whose talent is matched only by their fame: the actress Zhao Wei, the visual artist Xu Bing and the musician and producer Gao Xiaosong.

The Red Brick Art Museum has launched a new exhibition entitled “Your footsteps are the road, for there is no road —An artistic road amid the Marcel Duchamp Prize artists” on April 26, 2019, aiming to present contemporary French art and a multi-faceted look at the Marcel Duchamp Prize in a new way. The works of the 14 winners and nominated artists of the Marcel Duchamp Prize also started the “Croisements Festival” on the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France. In addition, the French Government also issued the “French Art and Literature Knight Medal” to Yan Shijie, the Founder and Curator of the Red Brick Art Museum in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Sino-French cultural cooperation and the promotion of international cultural communication.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, European Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French Prime Minister, Jean-Maurice Ripert, French Ambassador to China, Robert Lacombe, Counselor for Cooperation and Culture Affairs and Director of the French Institute in China, Gilles Fuchs, President of the French Federation of International Art Communication Commissions, and many guests from cultural and art circles attended the opening ceremony. Jean-Yves Ledrien gave a speech at the opening ceremony: “‘Croisements Festival’ has become the largest cultural festival held by France abroad for 14 years and has continuously contributed to Sino-French exchanges. Recently, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to France, and both parties reiterated once again the vision of continuing to strengthen cultural exchanges. Today, I am very pleased to witness the opening of this event hosted by the museum, whether it is at a civil or government level in China, France is now regarded as a very important cultural exchange target for China. On the occasion of celebrating the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France this year, I am very pleased with the deep exchanges between the two countries. The French-Chinese relationship is enriched by exchanges, for which we can understand each other in depth and learn more about the world we live in.”

Professor Xu Bing, a contemporary artist and a teacher who is based in the Central Academy of Fine Arts mentioned in the interview for the promotion of “Croisements Festival” that, “My relationship with French culture is first of all with French literature, we are all fed with it. As an artist, I naturally have a close connection with French art and culture. At the Central Academy of Fine Arts where I studied, many professors have studied in France; French academia or nineteenth century French painting occupies an important place in the teaching of art in China.”

Meanwhile, the annual “Croisements Festival” has served as an invisible bridge. On the one hand, it has promoted cultural exchanges rich in variety; on the other hand, it has provided us with an opportunity to reflect on contemporary Chinese culture. “Chinese contemporary art, that is, contemporary Western art practiced in China, started rather late. We find ourselves in the globalization movement, with Western experience ahead of us, and behind us our own cultural origins. With these three elements, we must have our own artistic judgment and look for our own paths to creation that belong to us. Of course, with media and technology, artists around the world have almost the same access to information and knowledge, which should allow Chinese contemporary art to synchronize quickly with the world. Today, the countries on this planet are deeply connected to each other, by their common interests, and the reflections of artists, no matter where they come from, where they live, also relate to universal topics.”

There are many ways to create art, but as a discerning artist, it is nothing more than a universal problem faced by all human beings. As the first opening exhibition of this “Croisements Festival”, Ms. Annabelle Ténèze, curator of the “Your footsteps are the road, for there is no road – An artistic road amid the Marcel Duchamp Prize artists” aimed to present the exhibition starting from a holistic view. She said that, “the French name of the ‘Croisements Festival’ has the meaning of ‘croisements’. The encounter between China and France is the intersection, which also represents an international perspective. The artist chosen by the Marcel Duchamp Prize has an international perspective. Taking as the starting point a verse by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939), ‘Your footsteps are the road, for there is no road’, this project brings together works in which displacement is as much a subject as it is a metaphor. Accordingly, each work becomes an outward opening and a road to discovery. There is actually no established road on the way. The way we choose determines what our future road will look like. It is also a metaphor for the tour route of this exhibition. Every spectator visits this exhibition will have their own different routes and different feelings.”

Created in 2000 by the ADIAF, Association for the International Diffusion of French Art, the Marcel Duchamp Prize has chosen to recognize the most innovative artists of their generation in the aim of encouraging and confronting all artistic forms…With more than 80 artists distinguished including 18 winners, the Prize provides a wide panorama of the many varied contemporary art trends in France today. The positive feedback from the Haute Tension exhibitions presented in 2017 at the Red Brick Art Museum and the Time Museum, as well as Bridging the Gap in 2018 at the Tsinghua University Art Museum has enabled the exhibition to renew its 2019 edition again at the Red Brick Art Museum. Supported by Institut Français de Pékin, the exhibition was curated by Annabelle Ténèze, the chief curator and director of les Abattoirs, Musée – Frac Occitanie Toulouse, with the assistance of Daphné Mallet.

Text (CN) by Zhang Yizhi, edited (EN) by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Image Courtesy of the Organizer

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