LIFE IN SONGZHUANG

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As a child, when I was watching American Westerns, I always became identified with the red skins. When I claimed to be a spy this one was very often Soviet.
Young Adult recently established in Paris, I had the opportunity to stay first time in United States of America. At that time, the differences between the United States and France were much more pronounced, in particular in term of mass culture, music, cinema, television. To go to listen to a concert of a still unknown group in France, or to see a movie six months or one year before its release in Europe, were recurring activities. These differences of contents and cultural rhythms, the flavors of discoveries made me love New York. I saw NY as the big sister of Paris. I had the chance to return to NY several times, but the power of the American media machine was such that over time, the distance between our two continents decreased erasing these charming nuances. Listen to the same music in bars, see the same types of television programs, my pleasure diminished. This had not only get impact on my pleasure to travel besides the Atlantic Ocean. Indeed, working for French television, this Western cultural globalization echoed in my daily life, to the point that in 2005, after 18 years of career, I decided to stop this job. Instead of again and again achieve standardized and formatted products the largest number, I decided to devote myself to my own creations. Thus I finally assert myself as an artist.
In 2009, I was invited to exhibit my work for the opening of a new Sino-French cultural center in Beijing. My knowledge about China and its history were, so to speak, non-existent. Of course, I did not ignore that China had a very long and rich historic past. But, set apart some details, certainly important, as wheel or calligraphy invention; some great names of history like Confucius or Lao Tse, my expertise about China could be resume to folk images as Shaolin monks. In addition to this lack of education, systematic China Bashing in the western popular media, had managed to make me imagine China and its people only committed and concerned about the consumption of tangible assets. So armed with these misconceptions, and with a negative and pejorative opinion that I accepted this invitation nonchalantly. I did well, 6 years later I am still in China savoring these differences of humanities which I like so much.
Initially confused by this swarming and chaotic environment, I had the chance to make beautiful meetings and the faculty to transform some of them into sincere friendships. Do not speak Chinese never was a handicap. Never during these great friendly dinners that Chinese have the secret I felt alone. My hosts developed numerous attentions towards me, so assuring me of their warm welcome. This is how I discovered, not a country but a people; a people where men live quietly their masculinity and where women are often gracefully feminine.
Then of course, I am not fooled. This consumer society that I try to avoid is very present in China, and in a rather radical way. Several elements, including my poor ability to understand Chinese language, allow me to escape from the incessant flow of the consumer society main tool, namely television and the big popular media. But above all, live in Songzhuang in contact with its inhabitants, artists or simple workers, in a still isolated and protected environment, gives me the chance to share real human experiences.
 
I hope it will last long !!!

 

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