Walk into the woods, and breathe in poetry
Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai
Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Poet: Mikaël Hautchamp
Host: Zhu Zhu
Interpreter: Shu Cai
Organizers: Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2020
Venue: Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai (Middle Huaihai Road 1431, Xuhui District)
Transportation tips: Exit 2, Shanghai Library Station, Line 10 or Exit 4, Changshu Road Station, Line 1
The 2020 global pandemic has interrupted our original pace of life. With the raging virus and the chaotic public sphere, it is worth thinking about how individuals can reconnect with the world, and how we should get along with ourselves as well as the others. Poetry has always been a special place for souls to echo. The poetic words are often about the status of human civilization, and the construction of spiritual world, where people of diverse insight meet.
On June 13, French poet Mikaël Hautchamp, art critic and curator Zhu Zhu, poet and translator Shu Cai are invited to the Villa Basset, the governmental garden of Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai to this recital. This event is the first offline cultural event collaborated by China and France since the 2020 global pandemic, organized by Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai and Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. The event is a live conversation between French Salon culture and Chinese literati gathering, and also a precious chance to breathe in the present blessings with the poetic beauty.
The poet Mikaël Hautchamp inherited the aura of French diplomats, who travel around the globe dealing with professional affairs, while exploring languages with poetry. The minister counselor for cultural, educational and scientific affairs of the French Embassy in China Mikaël Hautchamp has published 4 poetry collections by now, among which Le Vol des oiseaux filles was awarded “Max Jacob” Poetry Award in 2020. With Shu Cai’s elaborated translation, Mikaël Hautchamp’s poetry got to meet Chinese readers for the first time.
Poetry has always been the bridge to the souls of human kind. In the recent centuries, Chinese and French poets have been inspiring each other. The development of Modern Chinese Poetry was greatly influenced by France. On the one hand, Dai Wangshu, one of China’s most significant and innovative poet, wrote poetry that lies within Modernist-Symbolist tradition. On the other hand, French poet-diplomat Saint-John Perse wrote the vital work of his life Anabase (Anabasis) during his post in Beijing. China’s Freehand style art also impacted on French contemporary writers, poets, and painters, such as Henri Michaux.
Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum has got a long-standing relationship with French culture with continuous effort of curating exhibitions and public cultural events that stimulates the artistic conversation between China and France. The exhibitions include the first chapter of the 6th Festival Croisements “A Decade of French Art from the Video Collection of the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris” (2011), “Lumiere!” (2015), the opening exhibition of the 12th Festival Croisements “Listening to Transparency” (2017), and “Sonsara” (2017), etc. The Mikaël Hautchamp poetry meeting is the first poetry event since Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum signed the three-year Memorandum of Cooperation in 2019 with Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai. Since the signing, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum has held various events such as “Your Footsteps are The Road, for There is No Road: The Marcel Duchamp Prize in Shanghai”, “L’invisible Vu”, 10th Anniversary Fête de la Musique Shanghai, etc. The 8-year-old project “Poetry Comes to Museum” has turned Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum a poetry resort in Shanghai. The project has invited French poets and Chinese poets living in France as the guests to share about poetry, including Yvon Le Men, Gérard Macé, Adonis, Mangke, Song Lin, Qin Sanshu, etc.
This time, the poetry project has walked out from the museum to La Villa Basset, the Mediterranean style garden, to open a new conversation in a new space. The China-France poetic event series is opened at the governmental garden and will continue to this fall. Launching a poetry project in such a time, the Consulate General of France in Shanghai and Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum show passion and respect for the cultural communication.
La Villa Basset is on the list of historical buildings in Shanghai. It is a perfect symbol of cultural fusion, with its hybrid architecture elegantly combining neoclassical columns, Flemish roofing, Italian balconies, capitals and mosaics and Chinese landscaped and rock gardens. The poetry project co-organized by the consulate general of France in Shanghai and Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum is going to witness the extended friendship between the two nations, and the beautiful transformation from poetry to daily life activity.
Born in 1975, he graduated from the Institute of Political Studies and the National School of Administration (ENA). He was the deputy director of Palace of Versailles for 6 years, and then worked as the deputy director of the National Library of France for 3 years. In 2015 he becme the director of the French Institute in Athens, before he became diplomatic officer of cultural, educational, and scientific affairs at the Embassy of France in China. He has authored four poetry collection, among which Le Vol des oiseaux filles won the Max Jacob Poetry Award in 2020
Other publications include Formant série sans trace (2011), Terre à monde (2007), and Pâle si la nuit, (2002) all published by Cheyne Éditeur.
Zhu Zhu is a poet, curator, and art critic. Born in Sept. 1989, Zhu won Anne Kao Poetry Award, Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), Hu Shi Poetry Prize. Zhu Zhu is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and art criticism, such as Fumée bleue, a poetry collection translated into French by Chantal Chen—Andro, Drive to Another Planet, Salt on Wilted Grass, The Trunk, Stories, Vertigo, and Grey Carnival—Chinese Contemporary Art since 2000.
Born in 1965, in Fenghua, Zhejiang, Shu Cai was originally Chen Shucai. He graduated with a BA in French literature from the Department of French Language and Literature, Beijing Foreign Languages University in 1987. From 1990 to 1994, he worked as a diplomat in the Chinese Embassy in Senegal and has since been working as a research fellow in Foreign Literature Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He won the Medal of Academic Palm Knight in France in 2008.
His publications include such collections of poetry as Solitaire (China, 1997) and Short Poems by Shu Cai (Hong Kong, 2004) and his translations of French literature include A Selection of Poems by Pierre Reverdy (China, 2002), Selected Poems by René Char (China, 2002), and Selected Poems by Nine French Poets (Shanghai, 2009).