Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant inaugurates a long-term collaboration between Palais de Tokyo and the K11 Art Foundation dedicated to the discovery and presentation of emerging art scenes in China and France. This exhibition presents five Chinese artists in dialogue with three French artists. The selection of this new wave of Chinese artists is a distillation of over one hundred studio visits in ten cities across China. The artists negotiate over-production, monumentality, and rapid development, by abiding by their own temporalities, turning internal investigation into the strangeness of material fact. Deeply connected to the self and engaged with their immediate surroundings and the world, they capture the ineffable: a spirit, an attitude, a sensitivity, and an individual mode of existence. Their works are placed in a new context in dialogue with the works of the French artists, forming new adjacencies and productive interferences
L’Intérieur du Géant, Nadar’s 1863 photograph, of the inflating interior of his 60-meter-high hot-air balloon Le Géant, which would soon bring Nadar to produce some of the first aerial photographs, serves as a beacon. This enigmatic image-before-image resembles an aerial view of an unknown space, signals that what we seek might originate from the depths of within. Like Nadar’s visionary image, works of art are enablers of perception, conveyors of subjectivity, and compressors of time. They chart out a space of seeing before seeing, of being before being.
As Le Géant elevated Nadar, the artists in this exhibition likewise propel us to new perspectives: from weight to levity, from mental perception to physical manifestation, from the past to the hallucinatory future. They entrench in the present to reach far into the span of time; they search intensely in peripheral visions to unravel or cinch our systems of knowledge. Imbricating temporality and materiality, their works equip us with new senses to see things anew, as in Nadar’s words: “In that very second, the slightest ray of light would dissipate the tenebrous depths and enable the eye to take measure of the darkest corners.” (Nadar F., À Terre & en l’air… Mémoires du Géant, Paris, E. Dentu, 1865)
Artists: Renaud Jerez, Li Gang, Edwin Lo, Nadar, Aude Pariset, Wu Hao, Yu Ji, Zhao Yao. Special Project: Cheng Ran