Brilliant City is the portrait of the city of Shanghai as depicted in the works of the artist Christophe Demaître. An exhibition of his works, which transports one within the ambience of the Asian megalopolis, of the city of Shanghai in particular, one of these cities irreversibly modified by rampant modernisation in both lifestyle and architecture.
The title of the exhibition, Brilliant City, makes reference to the most grand residential complex of Shanghai which is composed of over fifty buildings which form a bundle of high towers upon the shores of the Suzhou river, in the north of Shanghai. A portrait made by successive touches brings forth the photographs by the artist. Christophe Demaître transforms the pictures he has taken since his settling down in Shanghai eight years earlier. As an alchemist he retakes each of these urban views by means of the photographic technique of emulsion; in addition, he combines mediums adding collages, silkscreens, pigments, neon... After he develops his images upon different types of materials, utilizing print on paper, on metal, or further on resin. Each work becomes a palimpsest, which he reworks without end until arriving at a timeless effect, a vintage. It is a veritable artistic metropolis, which Christophe Demaitre recreates and lets live with full potential, playing an equal role as creator, historian and visionary. His views of the city underscore the anonymous, yet also the trepid life of Shanghai. A portrait of a city full of life, speed and light.
For this exhibition, Christophe Demaitre has installed his photographic laboratory in the basement of the gallery. His darkroom shall become the site of performances.
Christophe Demaître is born in 1968 in Courtrai in Belgium. He studied plastic art first in Courtrai, then in Gent. In the early 90’s, his work is oriented through photography research, and it is a time when he used to travel a lot through Europe and Asia. In 1997, he settled in Italy during six years, when he will come back to paintings, working on several academic technics. Then, he starts to be renown and he exhibits in prestigious institutions. He will also stay few times in Spain, in Barcelona, where he will get a lot of inspiration from the movement « Arte Povera ». All his travels inspired him to come back to experiment photography again. In 2003, he settled in Brussels where he continued the work he left years before. In 2006, Christophe Demaître is invited by Island 6 Arts Center in Shanghai, a contemporary art center, where he developed his work using multimedia technologies. Fascinated by this super-dynamic city continuously expanding, not only demographic way but also in an artistic way, the artist decides to settle a second studio in Shanghai, and to live there some time during the year. Nowadays his work is renown and belongs to public and private collections.