Fashion designer and Jing Daily Paris correspondent Cliff Lee reflects on this weekend's La Nuit Blanche event, which brought the work of two Chinese artists, Zhenchen Liu and the late Chen Zhen, to art lovers in the City of Lights.
This past Saturday marked the 9th edition of "La Nuit Blanche" in Paris. For those unfamiliar with the term, "Nuit Blanche" literally translates to "White Night" or "Sleepless Night." La Nuit Blanche is an all-night arts festival that takes place every year, promoting artistic installations and performances at several public and private Paris museums, galleries and cultural centers. During La Nuit Blanche, the doors of these institutions are flung open to the public, allowing them to take in the artwork free of charge.
Started in the late 1990s and finally conceptualized internationally by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë in 2002, over the past 8 years the event has been reproduced around the world in major cities such as St. Petersburg, Berlin, Munich, Montréal, Toronto, Madrid, Lima and Shanghai, which held China's first Nuit Blanche on June 1st, 2007.
This year's Nuit Blanche offered over 100 installations, projections, performances, and exhibitions around the city of lights, plus 38 additional installations executed by international guest artists. Among them, two Chinese artists were invited to be part of this year’s Nuit Blanche celebration.
Kaleidoscope, a video installation by the Shanghai native
, was presented at the cultural center La Maison des Métallos in the east side of Paris. Liu's colorful kaleidoscope uses several shapes and patterns to represent the psychedelic illusion and seemingly carefree enjoyment of China’s frenzied economic development in recent years.
5 Installations, by the late
, commemorates the 10th anniversary of the artist's passing with some of his most renowned installation pieces. Presented at the Asian Art Museum Guimet in the west side of Paris, the installation includes Chen's famous work "The Round Table," created in 1995, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UN. The piece seeks to express unity, harmony, and what the Chinese call “guanxi," or the fundamental dynamic at play in personalized networks of influence. The table and the chairs Chen uses in "The Round Table" symbolize an ideal human order with an emphasis on mutual respect, equality and multiculturalism. Another of Chen's pieces, "Le Berceau" (The Cradle, 1995), refers to the permanence of the cycle of life.
Other pieces included "L’autel n° 9" (The Altar number 9, 1993), "La Hibernation/La Divagation" (The Hibernation/The Raving, 1990) and "La Stèle/Le Cercueil" (The Stele/The Coffin, 1989).
This year's Nuit Blanche concluded Sunday morning at 7:00 am, wrapping up another exciting edition. We look forward to seeing more Chinese artists included in next year's lineup.