On April 11, 2017, “Rendez-vous: Young French & Chinese Art” exhibition opened at the CAFA Art Museum. Prof. Su Xinping, Vice President of CAFA, Bérénice Angremy, Cultural Commissioner of the French Embassy in China, Isabelle Bertolotti, one of the curators of the exhibition and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon/mac LYON, Georges Verney Carron, Founder of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes, Marilou Laneuville, the assistant curator from France, participating artists from France and China, Project Coordinator Yu Meng, and Gao Gao, the assistant curator from China attended the opening ceremony. Prof. Wang Chunchen, Head of the Department of Curatorial Research of CAFA Art Museum hosted the opening ceremony.
Established in 2002, the project of “Rendez-vous” was sponsored by the the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, based on the international exchange exhibition entitled “International Youth Special Project” at the La Biennale De Lyon, which aims to explore the creations of the young artists from France and other regions of the world, trying to reflect reality and future trends in contemporary young art to a certain extent. The “Rendez-vous” is held in a city outside France each time, it does not only show the work of French artists, but it also invites local curators to participate in the planning, thus involving the local artists into the curatorial vision, to constitute a communication and dialogue on different cultures, societies and art ideas, which is just like a real “rendez-vous”. When the “Rendez-vous” project arrived at the CAFA Art Museum in Beijing, Chinese curator Wang Chunchen said that, “Although the exhibition is small, it reflects their times and reveals the characteristics of the French and Chinese youth; they are diverse, new, exploratory, introspective, contemplative, and innovative. ‘Rendez-vous’ is a visionary and symbolic term, because it is not just a representation of an encounter between two cultures, it is a meeting of curiosity and this is a meeting between the young generation and the future.”
In 2017, “Rendez-vous” in Beijing brings together 10 French artists and 6 Chinese artists: Gaëlle Choisne, Ruth Cornelisse, Fabrice Croux, AdélaÏde Feriot, Nicolas Garait–Leavenworth, Lola Gonzàlez, Huang Yang, Maxime Lamarche, Leng Wen, Li Linlin, Lu Zhengyuan, Daniel Otero Torres, David Posth–Kohler, Qiu Yu, Johann Rivat, Wu Hong, to feature nearly 40 works by young artists from China and France, covering painting, sculpture, photography, installation and other forms.
The entry to the ground floor at CAFA can be considered as the prelude to this exhibition, where the viewer will see the Chinese artist Li Linlin’s work “Who Will Comfort Me?” at first glance: the church-like building constructed by wooden bed boards from the school dormitory is filled with a large number of Barbie dolls and around the building there are some huge plush bears lying or leaning, while a variety of Barbie dolls seem to be crying: “Who will comfort me?” In this place, the church is a monument to childhood and youth, while the wooden bed board is a teenager’s dream, the narrow internal space is a symbol of the inner darkness, the skylight high above represents the fear and longing for the outside world, it seems to be a youthful memory which is just like a needle stinging people. At the exhibition hall on the second floor, there is a second work by Li Linlin, entitled “The Garden of Eden”, a world that is made up of a variety of chaos and beauty, dirty and brilliant plants and animals, to describe a heterogeneous “Garden of Eden”. In the lobby on the ground floor, one can also see the French artist Maxime Lamarche’s work entitled “En nous le dragon d’or”, the inflatable cartoon image in the crack makes full use of the space and structure of the art museum; the Chinese artist Lu Zhengyuan’s “The Edge” also echoes the structure of the art museum, the 15-meter-long stainless steel ladder connects the ground floor and the top floor, while the fresh fruits and gorgeous wax ones are placed on the ladder in juxtaposition, along with the time when the real fruits turn black and rot, dying off, while the fake wax fruits remain the same, taking a fresh and affected posture to continue with anti-aging, with a high-spirited state to relay and develop.
The space on the second floor is the main exhibition hall. Corresponding to the French artist Johann Rivat’s pencil and watercolor on paper “Verruckte Tiere” it is the Chinese artist Wu Hong’s “The Classical Mountains and Rivers Series”, where the animals from the real world meet the strange creatures from traditional Chinese mythology, which forms a formal “meeting”. Whether Chinese or French artists, we can see the same characteristics of the artists from the works, for example, a sense of crisis and oppression with the social and ecological changes under the rapid development of urbanization, Lu Zhengyuan’s “The Opposite Bank”, Daniel Otero Torres’s “Plan B” and “Jardin”, Gaëlle Choisne’s audio-color video “Diorama”, etc., can be regarded as a reflection of these issues.
Because of the customs and other transport reasons, many original works by the French artists were not able to be presented at the museum. But the artists still created a special creative environment with the re-cognition of the art museum space and created according to local conditions with the help of the staff of the art museum and the students from CAFA, in addition to the previously mentioned Maxime Lamarche’s “En nous le dragon d’or”, Fabrice Croux’s installation of mixed media “Mountain Cake” was also finished before the opening of the exhibition.
It is a show about the “Rendez-vous” between the young French and Chinese artists, and it continues to May 3.
Text by Lin Jiabin, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Photo by Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO