France has always been a country of asylum for Chinese artists. After the First World War, it was where painters such as Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-Chun developed their careers. In the 1990s, Paris became a vanguard destination for contemporary Chinese artists fleeing the Tiananmen revolution, like Yan Pei Ming and Huang Yong Ping. At that time former Minister of Culture Jack Lang welcomed artists and curators, who have since taken up residence in France and participated in many thematic exhibitions about China.
It has nevertheless been ten years since any Parisian institution has focused on this scene, which has continued to evolve at a dizzying speed ever since emerging as one of the most significant markets of the 2000s. What is the situation today? How is this art scene, traditionally seen as a rebellious one, developing? These are questions that the Foundation Louis Vuitton has been keen to answer with the exhibition Bentu: Chinese Artists in a Time of Turbulence and Transformation.