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Picture of Calvin Hui and Olivia Putman, picture@3812cap
Last Friday, I attended the opening of the new show launched by The French May and 2 main figures of the art market. Dialogue: Art & Design, lasting until June 30th, is a conversation between contemporary Chinese artists and furniture pieces manufactured by the French Studio Putman. The exhibition space is in Aberdeen, in the showcase led by Calvin Hui: 3812 Contemporary Art Projects on Wong Chuk Road, in the very trendy South Island District.
Dialogue, exhibition poster, picture@3812cap
‘Dialogue’ features 3 Chinese artists: Xiaohua, Tian Wei and Wang Aijun, whose works, mainly paintings, inks or watercolors, offer background and windows to the especially made furniture pieces designed by Olivia Putman. The exhibition is divided into 4 rooms. 3 of them display creations by the Studio Putman, that is to say 5 pieces: a bronze mirror, Eclipse, a Lalique crystal paneled console, Ondes, a floor lamp, Jour de Fete, a bronze console ornamented with ‘Gingko‘ and a pair of chairs called Velvet Monsieur & Velvet Madame.
The gallery logo, picture@3812cap
Birth of the Project
That evening, under the mediation of the CEO of the French May, Olivia Putman and Calvin Hui gave a talk on their collaboration. They explained the idea of the whole project was born during the first visit of Olivia to Hong Kong, for The French May 2014. Then, Calvin decided to visit Olivia in Paris. He had already the title, Dialogue, in mind and he found strong support on the French side.
Velvet Monsieur & Velvet Madame, edition of 8 and 4 AP, by Studio Putman, picture@3812cap
Calvin and Olivia listed us the common points between their two collections and ways of thinking: Calvin Hui is attracted by nature, the ink transparency and the aesthetic values carried out by contemplating the cosmos. Olivia, as a farmer landscape designer and an artist, relies on nature to find inspiration. They both had the same interest for taking time to look at things and enjoy them.
Question A: How do you concretely worked for such project? They answered they didn’t even exchange drawings or pictures to prepare the exhibition, which shows a strong prove of trust and the major role of conversation. Besides, Putman’s drawings are confidential and cannot be sent but must be seen in Paris only. They also needed to be quick and had only few months to decide.
Artist Banner, Wang Aijun, picture@3812cap
As far as I am concerned, the connection worked very well and the whole gallery was harmonious, I especially noticed the lecture room. Indeed, works by Wang Aijun, entitled Beyond heaven, were hang behind the yellow and gray velvet chairs signed by Olivia and you really felt you could seat there and chat with a friend for hours, for a real Dialogue. The pair, Velvet Monsieur & Velvet Madame actually symbolizes Olivia and Calvin. However, both chairs colors and shapes are not what I know of the Studio Putman, especially the use of Yellow. Small Chinese influence or touch of sun, I simply loved it!
The curating work
Floor lamp, Jour de fete, edition of 8 and 4 AP, Studio Putman, picture@3812cap
Calvin gave us an example of the way he selected his artists and their works to match Olivia’s. One of Olivia’s master piece is a bronze set of 6 chinese lanterns based on a stand, forming a gilded foot lamp.The name of the piece: Jour de Fete or Party day, was a reference to family time and celebrations. Calvin selected then works created by Xiaohua, a young Chinese student based in Berlin who started painting at home, missing her family and suffering from nostalgia.
Xiaohua / From 1 to 1000 meters – No.20, picture@3812cap
She mixed Fabrics and oil on canvas: she “cuts fabrics into thousands of pieces of squares of different sizes and colours, and runs them under the heat of the iron, resulting in mutated shapes and hues with faint traces of the ironing. The dye now appears to be “washed down” as the hue is transformed into a colder tone which, paradoxically, finds a new harmony and subtlety that grace even a colour as garish as red.”by 3812
For Calvin Hui, this exhibition expands the dialogue shared between an aesthetic value for art and design; reflective of a cultural exchange between the “co-existence of spirituality of Chinese culture” and “the functionality of Western forms”. Calvin Hui, by 3812
3812 Contemporary Art Projects – Wong Chuk Road