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Rêve d’Orient (Dream of the Orient)
2008

Rêve d’Orient (Dream of the Orient) combines three series which were produced in the Far East between 2005 and 2008: Trans­Siberian, Lost in China and Japanese Whispers.
These series were created as if they were movie scenes, the objective being to try to convey through the framing and a colorist approach, a timeless and poetic vision of Asia.

In the summer of 2005, I travelled on the Trans­Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing through Mongolia. While on board of this legendary train, I became interested in the silence of shapes, in the density of materials and in the sensuality of bodies. Then I crossed mainland China. Impressed with its dreamlike strength, I chose to translate the reality of what I was perceiving into a symphony of colors and sensations, where poetry and dream would dominate. I tried to bring back the traces and perfumes of an ancient and disappearing millennial China.
In the streets of Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, I had the strong feeling of the persistence of a Chinese aesthetic that had survived the ages and marked a country that was going through fundamental changes.

In the spring of 2008, I traveled to Japan where my father,­ a naval officer, had lived. As with a shoji ­ a translucent paper door that slides in traditional Japanese houses ­ I was immersed in a silent and aesthetic world. The resemblance between people and nature was the most striking.
The stealth presence observed in the bars of Shinjuku in Tokyo, the frail sliding silhouettes appearing in the streets of Gion in Kyoto, strangely resembled the Japanese prints of my childhood. Just as the hybrid and fantastic shapes that would be covered by trees and bamboo in the gardens of Kanazawa and Kamakura.

The places and the landscapes were marked by a disturbing and ghostly atmosphere. Japan, more than any other country, gave me the uncanny feeling of blending into nature and floating on clouds.

Rêve d’Orient (Dream of the Orient) that combines three series, is an invitation to travel. A poetic, sensory and dreamlike journey.

François Fontaine

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