Saturday 8 March saw a crowd of people gathered outside the entrance to Shanghai’s art shopping centre, K11 Art Mall, in the hope of visiting its latest exhibition “Master of Impressionism – Claude Monet”, which is presenting some pieces from the artist’s Water Lilies series. This infamous series, alongside several other examples of the artist’s work – numbering forty in total – has been lent by Paris’s Musée Marmottan Monet. The body of work on display at K11 Art Mall is so extensive that it represents half of the museum’s total collection.
For the Assistant Director of the Musée Marmottan Monet, Marianne Mathieu, the essential triumph behind this exhibition is its ability to reach “people who traditionally don’t visit museums”, as she told Agence France Presse, adding: “We wanted to bring the paintings to the people, and not ask them to go out of the city to see paintings.” This ideal of inclusion is one which is shared by the Shanghai-based organisers who anticipate an impressive attendance of around 200,000 to 300,000 people, over the course of the three-month exhibition period. This estimation might be somewhat restricted, however, given the limit imposed by the institution of 3000 visitors a day, in the interest of security. One visitor commented: “I’ve heard a lot about Monet’s works, and I couldn’t wait to see them with my own eyes.”
This exhibition represents one element of an increasingly expansive programme of cultural events scheduled for this year, the fifth anniversary of the development of cultural ties between France and China. January heralded the organisation of two prestigious cultural events, a concert by the Garde Républicaine at the National Museum of China and “Nuit de Chine”, a celebration of Chinese culture at the Grand Palais in Paris.
K11 Art Mall attained further cultural significance as it played host to the signing of a contract between Jean de Loisy (President of the Palais de Tokyo) and Adrian Cheng (founder of the K11 Art Foundation). This new partnership champions the evolving international recognition of Chinese artists and aims to widen their influence on the public. An exhibition, focusing on this theme, is to take place from 20 October 2014.