Emmanuel Chantebout
views of China
 
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Emmanuel Chantebout was feeling lost. It was on the eve of the year 2000, he had recently graduated from the drawing-painting section of Paris National School of Fine Arts. Short on money, wandering in the south of France, he finally took a job in a publishing company, but felt guilty about not making art.
Born in Paris to a jurist family, he chose to follow other paths instead of what a latent atavism could have prompted him to. However, his early paintings and photography were mainly focused on the position of the artist faced with the powers of politics, economics, mass media or religion throughout history.
As a bustling student, he started to question the glorified figure of "the artist" who is politically and socially involved. From these hectic times, he still holds a sense of provocation. Chantebout scarcely tries to please, lure or seduce. Voluntarily shocking with his early erotic orgies and personified photomontages, he soon understood the necessity for an artist to have a place to show his work. Without any consultation, he converted a corridor of the Chimay Palace in Saint-Germain-des-Pres’ district, in a student gallery named "Rive droite", which still exists today into the School of Fine Arts.
After several journeys abroad to England and Australia followed by exhibitions in France, he moved to China in 2003. He was eager to open new perspectives in him work but as a Chinese-illiterate, painting was at first his only means of expression. He says: "I attempt to give a narrative to the social situation I live in. My first series of paintings in China were only for the pleasure to paint a new environment I was discovering on a piecemeal basis". [...]

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