As both partners and art collaborators, Chinese-born artists, Huang Yong Ping and Shen Yuan, investigated what it means to live in their adopted city of Paris. With Yong Ping’s passing several years ago, this realization can no longer be carried out in words, but through art. To commemorate the ultimate joint collaboration between the two, Paris’ Kamel Mennour gallery is showcasing an exhibition of work, titled “Is Paris Burning? 2019”
Having lived in the world capital of love and beauty for 30 years, the two began to recognize Paris as a city that is just as much known for violence and rebellion. From the French Revolution, the Restoration, the Prussian invasion and the Paris Commune, to two World Wars, the student movement of 1968, along with a series of terrorist attacks since the 1970s. Yong Ping and Yuan began to ruminate, does one need to experience the burning fire that is the heartbeat of the city to truly become Parisienne?
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The charm of Paris and the image of fire are now inextricably intertwined.
The art on display investigates this premise through a series of large-scale sculptures and installations. One such is a massive recreated spire that resembles the one that fell from Notre Dame in April of 2019. “The flames that consumed the spire rose into the sky and remained there for a long time,” said Yuan in a 2020 interview. “It was like a divine sacrifice. Still today, thinking of Paris, it’s hard to forget that fire, which makes me think that the charm of Paris and the image of fire are now inextricably intertwined.”
“Is Paris Burning? 2019” is on view at Kamel Mennour until January 29, 2022.
Elsewhere in art, check out the French decorative arts that inspired Walt Disney.
5 Rue du Pont de Lodi
75006 Paris, France
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