pictures from project useful chimera
The ambition of the project is to make traditional crafts known, promote and stimulate them, keeping them alive in today's world. It is therefore a question of accompanying questioning, experimentation and the exploration of new paths...
The project aims to initiate a dialogue between France and China, through the craft skills of both countries and the people who practice them.
More broadly, it is about revealing, under the hand of the craftsmen, the qualities of the materials and their intrinsic beauty, and celebrating human genius.
The first stage takes place in France: I choose with a French craftsman a fragment of one of his creations: a piece, a test, a sample... The instruction is that the fragment has to be unfinished, incomplete - but fully charged with the specificity of its technique, and pay tribute to the properties of its material.
In the second stage, I imagine a complement to this fragment. This complement is conceived on the basis of the nature and technique of the initial fragment on the one hand, and the skills of the participating Chinese craftsmen on the other.
The third stage consists of taking the French fragments to China and entrusting a fragment to a Chinese craftsman, giving him a drawing or a description of a principle to be used to make the complement.
There are no really fixed rules for this stage, it all depends on the meeting of materials and people...
This is the beginning of the dialogue, which will be constant until the completion of the piece.
The second season will be "the shepherd's answer to the shepherdess": I will collect fragments from these same Chinese craftsmen and put them in the hands of the French craftsmen.
For each series (Franco-Chinese and Sino-French), two copies of each object are made, one for China, the other for France.
The first phase was presented as part of the International Festival of Intangible Heritage organised in Chengdu from 17-22 October 2019, placed under the high patronage of UNESCO.
• Commissioned by
French Institute in China (Chengdu)
Bureau for Intangible Cultural Heritage of Sichuan
In process since 2019
Chengdu, Sichuan, China
various regions in France
SONG Xiping / ZHANG Dan