Ai Weiwei’s fantasy world on show at Le Bon Marché

Selective retailing


Le Bon Marché continues its dialogue with the art world, presenting “Er Xi”, the first exhibition in France of original works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Inspired by an immersion into the collective consciousness of popular Chinese tales and legends, the installation transforms Le Bon Marché into a parallel world of dreams.

The exhibition is an entirely new experience for the Chinese artist, who has never previously displayed his work in a commercial setting. “Showing at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche is using a new medium, the department store, to encounter a new audience that is every bit as broad as a museum’s,” Ai Weiwei explains. Calling his exhibition “Er Xi”, which translates as “child’s play” in Chinese, the artist reconnects with his childhood, appropriating a space dedicated to contemporary trends as his playground.

Ai Weiwei drew inspiration for the exhibition from Shan Hai Jing, the “Classic of Mountains and Seas”, a collection of popular legends and epic tales that have been told to children for over 2,000 years in China. Le Bon Marché becomes home to several dozen chimerical characters represented by traditional kites, crafted from bamboo and tissue paper.

Vitrine Rue de Sèvres © Gabriel de la Chapelle

This poetic tribute to China’s heritage spans three areas: the display windows on rue de Sèvres, the atriums of Le Bon Marché and a special exhibition gallery on the main floor. The exhibition runs from January 16 to February 20, 2016, welcoming everyone who delights in remaining a child at heart…

Practical information:
Guided tours for adults Thursday evenings from 7 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 12 pm (free reservations).
Tours for children (6 to 11) followed by an art workshop on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2 pm to 4 pm (reservations required, 20 euros).