From January 2016, Fondation Louis Vuitton is dedicated to the art scene in China. It will present “Bentu”, a temporary exhibition of artists from the mainland, and a selection of works from its collection. In addition, it will host a programme of events including music, cinema, performance, poetry and much more.
The temporary exhibition titled “Bentu, Chinese artists at a time of turbulence and transformation”, will be exhibited from January 27 until May 2, 2016.
Bentu: The native soil. In contemporary Chinese art, this term does not connote nationalism. Rather, it represents a dialectical concept that aims to reconcile the “local” and the “global” in a universalist and critical rediscovery of identity. This notion is central to the research of artists, curators and academics in China today.
This exhibition brings together 12 artists of different generations who live on mainland China. Using a wide variety of techniques and media, drawn from both local tradition and culture, as well as newer cutting-edge technologies, the artists reveal the complexities of a society that is in permanent mutation. The works highlight the current state of economy and ecology and the transformation of the relationship between the city and the countryside.
Questions relating to identity are also addressed.
The choice of works does not seek to show a panorama of the artistic scene in China, but aims to draw attention to the multiform character of the production in the country, which undergoes rapid development and which affirms itself through outstanding individuals, rather than through specific movements.
This is the first exhibition devoted to contemporary Chinese art in France in the past 10 years. It is co-organised with the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art of Beijing (UCCA Beijing).
Artists include Cao Fei (1978), Hao Ling (1983), Hu Xiangqian (1983), Liu Chuang (1978), Liu Shiyuan (1985), Liu Wei (1972), Liu Xiaodong (1963), Qiu Zhijie (1969), Tao Hui (1987), Xu Qu (1978), Xu Zhen (1977) and Yang Fudong (1971).
The Collection will present a selection of Chinese works from the collection of Fondation Louis Vuitton, from January 27 to September 5, 2016.
The exhibition starts with Tree by Ai Weiwei, works by Huang Yong Ping and the head of Buddha by Zhang Huan, monumental works, combining Eastern and Western references in a meditative spirit. Large-scale paintings by Yang Pei-Ming and Zhang Huan use a monochrome of black or midnight blue and grey, conferring a dramatic dimension. At the center, Xu Zhen’s sculpture Eternity sees the Louvre’s icon The Winged Victory of Samothrace attached to a Bodhisattva. New, by Xu Zhen, transforms Guan Yin (one of the most venerated goddesses of the Chinese Buddhist Pantheon), into a large scale and colorful “popist” figure.
Two installations (Tonight Moon and New Women II) by Yang Fudong absorb the visitor in a dreamlike atmosphere. In her animated video work, Cao Fei uses the code of Second Life, combining the different worlds of tradition and pop culture. My Ideal by Zhang Xiaogang, is composed of a painting and five sculptures. These works represent the different people in society—worker, peasant, student, soldier and shopkeeper.
The exhibition ends with Isaac Julien‘s Ten Thousand Waves. Conceived in collaboration with famous figures of the Chinese artistic scene, the work adopts precise references from Chinese culture such as calligraphy and cinema of the ’30s. In a polyphonic manner, the installation weaves together the stories of Chinese workers with the legend concerning the Goddess Mazu, performed by the legendary siren of Chinese cinema Maggie Cheung.
- Xu Zhen, Physique of consciousness, 2011. Video. Produced by MadeIn Company. Courtesy Xu Zhen / MadeIn Company.