“Art Deco” exhibition at CityU showcases 1920s chic in China and French style


The relationship between Art Deco and Chinese art is the theme of the latest exhibition at the CityU Exhibition Gallery from 6 March to 30 June at City University of Hong Kong (CityU). 

The exhibition traces the origins of Art Deco in France, examines its influence of Chinese arts and craftsmanship on French designers and artisans, and explores the Art Deco lifestyle in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

The “Art Deco. The France-China Connection” exhibition features a talk by Ms Jennifer Wong, granddaughter of Mr Liu Jipiao, Father of Chinese Art Deco, on the art movement in China, and showcases more than 300 artefacts from museums, institutions and private collectors not only in France but also in Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

The artefacts include furniture, sculptures, paintings, posters, costumes, ceramic glassware, vases, jewellery, cosmetic cases and more, highlighting the versatility, originality and adaptability of Art Deco designs.  

Art Deco, the worldwide art trend in the second decade of the 20th century, originated at the 1925 Paris International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. The new style emphasised simple geometric and dynamic shapes and was widely applied in architecture, fashion and luxury products. 

Officiating at the opening ceremony on 5 March were Mr Lester Garson Huang, Council Chairman of CityU, Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU, Mr Alexandre Giorgini, Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, Mr Emmanuel Bréon, curator of the exhibition, and Dr Isabelle Frank, Director of CityU Exhibition Gallery. Around 100 guests attended the ceremony. 

In his welcome remarks, Professor Kuo said China and France were historically very close and that artistic inspiration from both countries had generated various kinds of decorative arts. 

In this exhibition, he said CityU had combined art and technology to make the precious exhibits even more exciting. “I am particularly grateful to Mr Giorgini for lending two private collections to CityU. I hope both sides can collaborate more in future,” he said.

Expressing his appreciation in participating in the exhibition, Mr Giorgini pointed out that many French embassies were designed along the lines of Art Deco, which showed the outstanding creativity of France. He added that Art Deco was the first global art style and that it has had a profound influence between France and China. 
 
Dr Frank said this was the eighth exhibition since the opening of the CityU Exhibition Gallery, and that it coincided with the 25th anniversary of CityU’s inauguration as a university. She said she was grateful to the international team for preparing this exhibition, explaining how they collected exhibits related to decorative arts from all over the world.

Among the many highlights are a bas-relief façade by Maurice Picaud (Pico), an artistic vase designed by Pierre Patout, a French evening dress including intricate geometric patterns, and a beautiful dressing table designed by a Shanghainese artisan. 

On the first day of the exhibition, Ms Wong delivered a talk entitled “Liu Jipiao, Father of Chinese Art Deco” at CityU. She recounted her grandfather’s contributions to the development of Art Deco in China. Mr Liu was invited to design China's pavilion at the international exhibition in Paris in 1925. His design featured a dragon and a phoenix, and represented the first melding of Chinese elements with Art Deco, winning him awards from the French government. 

“Art Deco. The France-China Connection” Exhibition 
Date: 6 March 2019 to 30 June 2019 (Closed on Mondays)
Time: 10am to 7pm
Venue: CityU Exhibition Gallery, 18/F, Lau Ming Wai Academic Building, CityU, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong
Admission: Free of charge
Website: https://www.cityu.edu.hk/ceg/exhibitions/art-deco 

Media enquiries: Karen Cheng, Communications and Public Relations Office (Tel: 3442 6805 or 9201 8895)