The Nature of Things
The exhibition presents the French virtuoso artist, Gaël Davrinche and the famous Chinese artist Zhang Dali. Graduated from the Beaux-Arts of Paris, Gaël Davrinche constantly renews the great masters’ painting techniques and dares to take over their models. Exhibited for the first time ever in Shanghai, his work surprises us with its colors and textures. This show is an opportunity to discover an amazing work with a lot of references to the history of art. Zhang Dali, one of the most famous Chinese artist (collected by Charles Saatchi and such and ranked in the Top 100 of Chinese contemporary artists by artnet), he is exhibited in many museums, and was also shown at the Venice Biennial. For this exhibition, Zhang Dali presents the series Man and Beast, where humans and animals mix themselves through huge bronze sculptures reflecting a fantastic and wonderful universe.
Keen observer of the society, Gaël Davrinche depicts with accuracy and humor human beings in huge portraits. Made famous since his first series, Les Revisités, in which he echoed with classics such as Velasquez or Van Gogh; Gaël Davrinche is noted for his spontaneous and precise touch. Using self-derision, he paints people wearing incongruous accessories such as colander or boxing gloves. In his Memento Mori series, the artist subtly paints faded flowers on huge canvases. As a real metaphor of life, these fragile flowers symbolize renewal and change, Gaël Davrinche suggests an optimistic view of the world to come and offer a vision of a renaissance with these flowers which will give life to new ones before disappearing rather than a desperate version of it. The artist evokes a reflection on man and his environment as the origin of this series.
This reflection about human being is also present in Zhang Dali’s sculptures. Juxtaposing life-sized animals and human figures, the artist offers a powerful image, almost violent, of the ferocity of tyranny. The animal, with its open mouth, dominates with all its power an inert and impassive man. These bronze sculptures - about three meters long - refer to Confucius texts about tyranny. Set with Gaël Davrinche’s works, they become a broader reflection on the nature of things.
Gaël Davrinche and Zhang Dali’s works raise questions about the relationship between the human being and his environment. The issues raised by Gaël Davrinche in his portraits about the link between man and the heritage of what is his identity, make a lot of sense in Shanghai. Through the exhibition, Zhang Dali sculptures give rhythm to this thought, as a reminder of the mythical relationship between man and animal. In a world where everything is going faster and faster Gaël Davrinche and Zhang Dali’s works establish a time for introspection.