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China Pavilion opens at Malta's first art biennale

Updated: 2024-03-19 12:04 ( Chinaculture.org )
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A poster for the exhibition "Tracing". [Photo provided to Chinaculture.org]

The China Pavilion at Malta's first art biennale was officially launched at Fort St Elmo in Valletta on Friday, serving as a new platform to open up new dialogues between Chinese artists and their peers from Malta and around the world.

Spread over two interconnected exhibition halls, the China Pavilion showcases over 100 pieces of artwork by contemporary Chinese artist Yan Shanchun, who was inspired by the West Lake, an iconic tourist destination in Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang province. The exhibition will run until May 31.

Through the works displayed in the exhibition, themed "Tracing", visitors will be able to feel the artist's intimate relationship with nature, as well as his way of integrating the materials and techniques from both Western frescoes and Chinese ink.

Artist Yan Shanchun was born and raised in Hangzhou, a city known for West Lake and also for being mentioned in the popular travels of Marco Polo. Having lived for more than 20 years close to the West Lake, the artist was deeply inspired by it. Spending the summers swimming in this lake and the winters skating on its frozen surface, he knew every hill, every rock, every piece of grass, and every tree of the lake. Finally, the seasonal temperature, humidity and smell of the vegetation became a permanent part of his memory. The retrieving of memory has been the theme of his work in the past decades.

The exhibition is hosted by the China Cultural Centre in Malta in collaboration with Shenzhen International Cultural Exchange Association and Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports, with the support of the Chinese embassy in Malta.

[Photo provided to Chinaculture.org]

Addressing the launch ceremony, Yu Dunhai, Chinese ambassador to Malta, said the historical Fort St Elmo, which originated as a war machine, was now serving as a venue for cultural exhibitions.

"While war destroys, culture builds, and therefore, the choice of this site is very meaningful."

He said he hopes the exhibition will serve as a bridge to strengthen the bond between the peoples of China and Malta.

Mario Cutajar, president of maltabiennale.art 2024 and chairman of Heritage Malta, said this biennale has a much deeper sense than art for art's sake since it aims to address contemporary issues in a setting of history.

Yan Weixin, director of Shenzhen Contemporary Art and Urban Planning Museum, and curator of the China Pavilion, said the China Pavilion is dedicated to exploring the propositions shared among Chinese and Western paintings, and the possibilities of revisiting and recreating historical heritages.

[Photo provided to Chinaculture.org]
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