Magnet Crowd Control

Crown Control

When he moved to Beijing in 2003 without knowing a word of Chinese French painter Emmanuel Chantebout had to find another way to communicate, and commune, with the city around him. "Painting China was an interesting way to analyse and to use a personnal language to communicate with people", he says. Since then he’s barely been able to turn away from the social and architectural landscapes of contemporary China. His new show at the Gallery Perif in 798, which he help found, features a series of his recent paintings that captures the idle crownds of Beijing, from construction workers on site, soldiers milling about or white and blue collar workers standing oblivious in a sea of uncertain white space. Each is made through a technique that involves photographs joined together by collage on the canvas. "It is a good way to work fast as China is moving fast," he says. For his new exhibition Chantebout has introduced a four-meter-long magnetic canvas with moveable characters, inviting the audience to toy with the arrangement of the cronds. "In this way the art work becomes an endless game".

That’s Beijing Home, October 2007.