Home >> Hot Issue

Exhibition puts ties in the frame

Updated: 2022-11-26 11:31 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat
Nathanaelle Herbelin, the winner of Yishu 8 Prize in 2019, presents her paintings at the show Kisses from Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Artists draw inspiration from China-France relations, Zhang Lei reports.

Long lines of visitors in front of the Guimet Museum, also known as the National Museum of Asian Arts, on Oct 18 in Paris have become a hot topic of conversation on the French capital's art scene.

The lines were for the opening of Kisses from Beijing, an art exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of Yishu 8 Maison des Arts in Beijing, which brought together 20 Chinese and French artists and their works as a celebration on Sino-French cultural exchanges. The Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye delivered a video speech to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.

Most of the artists have previously won the Yishu 8 Prize, and have traveled to Beijing or Paris to create their works. The exhibition, jointly curated by Sophie Makariou, director of the Guimet Museum, Henry-Claude Cousseau, president of the Yishu 8 Association, and Christine Cayol, founder of Yishu 8, showcases 25 artworks and 39 postcards specially created by the artists for the occasion.

A column made of bronze, paraffin and silk comes into view as visitors enter the lobby. The sculpture Colonne du 21.03.2011 by French artist Lionel Sabatte attests to Yishu 8's mission as a unique platform for Franco-Chinese creation and influence.

In 2011, Sabatte won the first Yishu 8 Prize.

"Yishu 8 is not only like a 10-year-old boy, full of vigor and energy, but also a key that helps Chinese and French artists and art lovers to open up the door to understand the mysterious culture thousands of miles away," says Cayol, founder of the association.

Upon the stairs of the museum hall, a dynamic blue "wind ball" appears on top of the white wall. Inspired by skylights, Chinese artist Wang Enlai, winner of the 2015 Yishu 8 Prize, hopes to introduce the blue sky, flowing air and natural sound into the museum through this installation.

As much as they arouse curiosity, the two artworks serve not as mere aperitifs, but a prelude to the exhibition hall on the second floor where the story of Yishu 8 unfolds.

As the prologue of the exhibition Kisses from Beijing, Yishu 8 presents the artistic journey of the past 10 years through texts, pictures, videos and books. Every smiling face on the exhibition wall, every glimpse of the artists' lives in Beijing or Paris captured on video, and all the foldouts and annual albums presented in the same style encapsulate the strength of Sino-French art relations.

"This exhibition is sharing a deep feeling with the public: the importance of mutual understanding and cross-inspiration between China and France. We have been promoting artistic exchanges for 10 years and are still engaged in this mission. We believe that art is the key to understanding a foreign civilization," Cayol says.

In 2009, Cayol and Xue Yunda, secretary-general of the Beijing Design Society, co-founded the nonprofit association. In 2019, Yishu 8 and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Golden Phoenix Art and Science Fund co-founded the Hand of Wisdom — Golden Phoenix Yishu 8 Chinese Youth Crafts Program.

Over the years, they have used the former site of the Beijing Sino-French University as its base to help and support young artists in China and France through the art residency program. They regularly hold art exhibitions, cultural lectures, concerts and forums to convey the spirit and belief of equality and fraternity of the former Sino-French University, and strive to build a bridge for the exchange of culture and art between the East and the West. The university was founded in 1920.

A total of 39 Chinese and French artists have been selected for the Yishu 8 Prize over the past 10 years, which supported them in finding different artistic inspiration in both countries. Before the opening of the exhibition, Wang and Peng Yong, winner of the 2014 Yishu 8 Prize, resided in the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, and created and exhibited works at the Paris Yishu 8 Maison and the New Sino-French University in Lyon.

"In this exhibition, we present 13 French artists and seven Chinese artists who are all Yishu 8 awarded. Those French artists have had the opportunity to come to Yishu 8 in Beijing for a three-month residency program, and the Chinese artists have had the opportunity to come to France to discover Paris and our culture," Cayol says.

"Totally we have selected 20 artists using different languages: photo, video, painting, conceptual art, installation and sculpture. …The French have been inspired by China and by their experience with Chinese people. The Chinese have discovered French culture. This action is fostering creativity and an open-minded attitude. We need this kind of openness, especially in a very complex worldwide context today."

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next   >>|
1/8 Next