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Guardians of Time Paris

Musée Guimet

JIANG Qiong Er exhibits at the Musée Guimet with ATHEM

To open the Year of China in style, the Musée Guimet is inviting visual artist and designer Jiang Qiong Er to take over various areas of the museum with a monumental installation created in collaboration with ATHEM. A successful technical challenge, with complex and bespoke engineering, for a project that evokes poetry and gentleness.

‘L'Origine’ A veil of red tulle covers the façade

The façade of the building is entirely covered in a veil of red tulle, putting the museum in the colours of China and building a bridge between the past and the present. The museum is reborn as a contemporary reinterpretation of the Chinese caves of Mogao, Yungang and Longmen, masterpieces of cave art.

On the threshold of the caves, twelve mythical creatures emerge

In the artist's eyes, they represent values that are essential to the 21st century, such as benevolence, time, inclusion and equality .... These creatures are hybrid, syncretic beings, imagined from legendary creatures and combined with the help of artificial intelligence. Each one of them tells a unique story, they appear on the façade to the rhythm of the day, night and seasons, they are the guardians of time.

Twelve mythical creatures - 12 guardians of time

Every two hours, thanks to a visual and sound device, the mythical creatures of the rotunda appear in turn, to the rhythm of the division of the day into twelve spaces of time, in force in ancient China. Three times a day, they all come to life together to mark this link between past and future.

Daily meetings, day and night...

They can be found at nightfall on the illuminated façade of the museum, chatting and whispering unusual stories. When silence returns, the rotunda lights up the Place d'Iéna like a lighthouse, and the creatures stand out in shadow at the entrance to the caves, their halos floating in the night like suspended lanterns.

‘Initiation’ in the entrance hall

The columns of the museum's entrance rotunda are adorned in different shades of red, the colour of propitiation, each carrying its own Chinese symbolism and poetic resonance. Walking through the hall, like a rite of passage, conveys to visitors the creative warmth of this colour.

"Twelve calls" in the historic library

A visual and sound installation. The bronze statues of the twelve mythical creatures are brought together in a circle: Authenticity, Fraternity, Inclusion, Peace, Equality, Benevolence, Time, Exploration, Bravery, Nature, Wisdom, Freedom. As they seem to float in the air, the rustle of their multilingual murmur fills the space.

Twelve incantations for harmony

Each one carries a specific message, each one expresses a hope. Their incantations call for human harmony.

The ‘Her Voice - Bravery’ installation

On the green terrace, this installation unfurls a gigantic woven metal net above the museum roof, on which the collective poetic words of sixty Chinese women are embroidered, using a new 'feminine script' inspired by nu shu, the only writing system in the world created and used exclusively by women.

A tapestry of woven metal

The collective voices of Chinese women are woven into an epic poetic embroidery.

A contemporary grotto revealing "Introspection" in the dome

The interior of the dome is encircled by a fragrant mesh of 5,000 pu-erh tea bricks. At its centre, stones are arranged in a mineral garden that captures the creative energy of the cave.

A space where everyone becomes the guardian of their own time

The dome becomes a space for meditation, but also for creation, in communion with the seasons thanks to a light projection.