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Le Bon Marché, the upscale department store and shopping destination préférée of the local rive gauche inhabitants of Paris, have commissioned a giant installation by China’s most prominent contemporary artist Ai Weiwei.

 

The installation “Er Xi - Air de Jeu” takes inspiration from Shanhai Jung, a collection of legends and fairytales from Chinese mythology that is centered around the Yellow Emperor. The artworks consist of three-dimensional bamboo structures in the shapes of kites and dragons, symbols that echoe back to the artist’s childhood. Apart from the installation inside the department store Ai is also preparing the department store’s window displays to attract by-passers’ curiosity.

 

On Bon Marché’s website the artist explains that exhibiting at a department store is a use of a new medium to display his art. He was appealed to the idea of exhibiting in a department store because it is a location directly connected to a city and its inhabitants where you can reach an audience that does not come there primarily for the art. It is not just the first commissioned installation exhibited in a retail space for the artist, but also his first ever in France.

 

The exhibition that is currently being installed can be previewed on the artist popular instagram, and will run from the 16th of January through the 20th of February. Visitors that actually do come primarily for the art have the opportunity of signing up for free guided tours of the exhibition Thursdays from 7 to 8 pm and Saturdays from 11 to 12 am by pre-booking a spot on +33 1 44 39 81 81.

 

Here is a short video on the exhibition

 

 

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