These days exoticism is something to be shared. For the Biennale Wong Hoy Cheong came to live in Lyon, with the aim of providing an image of "the days of our lives"; at the Fine Arts Museum he discovered paintings which for him embody what he terms the "French spirit" and which he decided to immortalise for their value as icons. His choice went to works portraying domestic situations: preparation of a meal, reading, relaxation, poverty – and war. Dating from the past, these scenes have lost nothing of their topicality and have even contributed to the shaping of that "French spirit". While the people to be seen in the paintings at the Museum are obviously of European extraction, the times have seen radical change, so Wong Hoy Chong’s photographs approach these everyday activities using models of different ethnic origins (Nigerians, Iranians, Turks, Burmeses...). Thus the "French spirit" of another epoch gives way to a new version, to the "spirit" of a country finally able to acknowledge its diversity.
With the kind permission of Museum of fine arts of Lyon / With the support of Larson Juhl.