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Hutong life inspires French artist

By Bi Nan (

16:30, June 13, 2013

July Ancel's paintings on display at Yishu 8. (

An art exhibition currently underway at Yishu 8 by young French painter July Ancel, was inspired by Beijing's hutongs during her three-month visit in China.

As one work The Prince's Arrival displays, a knight-prince takes on the appearance of a young Beijing man riding his bike, while his bride sits on the rack of his “bike-horse” while holding a bouquet of flowers.

July told China Daily the painting was inspired by the young couples she saw in the hutongs of Beijing. When she would ride her bike on her way to the studio or her home, she always saw boys happily carrying girls on their bikes.

“The Hutong is very traditional, and it is the spirit of China,” Ancel said. As the winner of the Yishu 8 award in 2013, she earned the chance to come to Beijing and stay for three months and paint.

Now her artistic creations are on display at the Yishu 8 gallery. The wall inside the gallery has been painted white in order to adapt to her painting style which features light colors, thus giving the gallery and entirely elegant feel.

As Ancel explained, the exhibition is titled One Swallow Does Not Make a Summer, because it implies that a person's gaze should not be satisfied with merely a first glance, but should welcome challenges, to search for uncertainties, and then leave, fly away and dream.

As the founder of Yishu 8, Christine Cayol said, “The paintings require people to go beyond the wall of appearances, to steer away from clichés or from the merely picturesque, and to accept the weight of the world, a little like the clumsy elephants that can be seen in some of the paintings.”

Ancel graduated from the art academy in Paris in 2010, and won the painting award Antoine•Marin in 2011. Her solo show debuted in 2012 at the “Premier Regard” gallery in Paris.

If you go: Yishu 8, Former Sino-French University, NO 20 (jia), Dong Huangchenggen Bei Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing +86 (10) 6581 9058 From June 8 to July 31

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