Wednesday, only a few hours after landing in Beijing, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared at the 17th Croisements Festival, a key event in the 2023 China-France cultural exchanges, at the Red Brick Art Museum in the Chinese capital.
On his trip, the French president wants to talk about culture.
Macron introduced the Bon Moment art exhibition at the occasion. This performance is the first of the festival’s main events. The French president used the occasion to encourage a deeper “intercultural dialogue” between Chinese and French artists.
Bon Moment invited a total of thirteen artists, including Cao Fei and Li Nu, to create artworks that reflect creations by French artists such as Mircea Cantor and Clément Cogitore on a variety of shared human themes, including AI technology and “extinction and rebirth.”
Macron stated that despite the fact that artists from China and France have their own “distinct charismas” due to their different historical and cultural contexts, their pursuits of “beauty and truth” remain the same.
“We want to work together to create a pleasant space in the world,” he said.
Wang Xuebin, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee (National Academy of Governance), told the Global Times that China and France, as two important civilizations in the East and West, have diverse cultures, which serve as an essential foundation for cultural exchanges.
“Historically, the Chinese civilization provided Europe with oriental knowledge, particularly during the French Enlightenment in the 18th century. The French Revolution and French culture had a significant influence on China’s modernization “Wang said.
Since the dawn of time, the two parties have engaged in mutually beneficial cultural exchanges.
As this is Macron’s third visit to China, following two previous visits in 2018 and 2019, he appeared at ease in the Chinese art scene. He stated that he respects artistic collaborations.
Included in the cultural delegation accompanying him on his ongoing China visit are musician Jean-Michel Jarre, the spouse of renowned Chinese actress Gong Li, and director Jean-Jacques Annaud, whose 2022 catastrophe epic Notre-Dame on Fire will be released in China on Friday. It will be the first French film to premiere in China’s theaters since the country optimized its COVID-19 response and reopened its arms to the rest of the world.
The director of The Name of the Rose, Annaud, has enduring ties to China. Wolf Totem (2015) is a Chinese-French co-production based on the celebrated novel by Chinese author Jiang Rong. Maoyan reports that the film grossed approximately 701 million yuan ($101.89 million) at the box office in China.
In 1981, Jean-Michel Jarre staged two concerts in Beijing and three in Shanghai, making him one of the first international artists to introduce electronic music to China.
In 2019, Jarre wed Chinese actress Gong Li, who was also a member of Macron’s delegation during his China trip.
Sun Jiashan, a researcher at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, told the Global Times on Wednesday that young people from China and France have a tremendous capacity for mutual understanding and communication in the internet era by utilizing the virtual space.
Wang stated that strengthening international people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, as well as investigating the establishment of a global civilization dialogue and cooperation network, are crucial components of the notion of a global community with a shared future.
The Croisements Festival 2023 will hold 65 satellite events in over 20 Chinese cities between April and July due to the Bon Moment.
The UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and the UCCA Edge in Shanghai will host a spectacular exhibition of Henri Matisse’s fauvist works.
This is the deceased artist’s first solo exhibition that has never been shown on the Chinese mainland. It features over two hundred and fifty pieces of his artistic legacy.
During the occasion, the French president also revealed that China-France cultural exchanges will be expanded to include dance and music, film, cultural digital creations, and printing and publishing.
Such diversified cultural exchanges will continue until 2024, which the French president characterized as a “significant occasion” commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.
Macron noted that the collaboration between France’s Chateau de Versailles and China’s Palace Museum will facilitate cultural initiatives.
He said China-France relations “pave the path for reciprocal learning of other nations’ civilizations.”
“These upcoming events and exhibitions demonstrate the desire of both parties to convene a new round of normalized, high-level people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism meetings as soon as feasible,” he explained.
By remarking that cultural exchanges between China and France have “recovered” after shaking off the fatigue caused by the COVID-19 contagion, Macron urged the cultural workers of the two countries to “continuously create” art that demonstrates all humans’ shared values.
The visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to China will elevate political, economic, and commercial cooperation, Wang told the Global Times. People-to-people and cultural exchanges will provide a strong foundation for future activities between the two nations.
“We have the right to fantasize,” the French president stated.
At the China première of Notre-Dame in Flames on Thursday in Beijing, the French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul-Malak, announced that cooperation between French and Chinese museums will intensify beginning in 2023.
She announced during the event that a new collaboration between the Palace of Versailles in Paris and the Palace Museum in Beijing had been “assured.”
The French Minister of Culture added that the cathedral is scheduled to reopen to the public in December 2024.