Celluloid dreams

Updated: 2014-06-22 07:01

By Rebecca Lo (China Daily)

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 Celluloid dreams

Cheng Zenghou captures the Avenue des Champs Elysees cast in its mysterious yet romantic lights. Photos Provided to China Daily

Redtory's exhibitions showcase vintage filmposters and photographs of Paris. Rebecca Lo takes a closer look.

A visit to Redtory never disappoints. The former canning factory that is now an art hub has steadily gained a reputation for mounting thought-provoking international and local exhibitions.

One of its current shows is a series of vintage film posters dating back to the golden days of Hollywood.

Professor Wang Shouzhi from Hangzhou's China Academy of Art donated his entire collection of old movie posters to the school's design museum last year. This is the second exhibition of selected posters from the collection since it was acquired.

From the very first posters of French film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotatin (1895) by the Lumiere brothers, to colorful billboards that announced movies to the world, all such works were painted initially by hand.

Classics such as Gone with the Wind, Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany's are immediately recognizable through their posters that have gained cultural significance and are prized possessions today owing to their rarity.

The quality of posters has improved with time and the use of technology. Photography, computer-aided illustrations and special effects have added to the sophistication of some posters and placed them well in the art world. In some, the mix of images and text is beautiful.

Celluloid dreams

Wang's collection is a trip down memory lane not just for movie buffs but also for people who appreciate the evolution of graphic design over the past century.

From fantasy to a reality that at times, seems fantastical, is the exhibition of Cheng Zenghou's 85 photo-graphs taken in Paris. Cheng is a former professor at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and specialized in French literature. He has also translated some writings of Victor Hugo into Chinese.

Over the years, Cheng has traveled to the city of lights to capture its mystery and romance through his camera.

Now retired, Cheng has selected his best images of 50 historic sites for an exhibition at Redtory that looks at Paris through a researcher's eye. Many of the city's most iconic places are presented including the river Seine, the Louvre and the Champs Elysees. Each photograph is tempered by Cheng's fondness for the city and how its architecture has developed over the years, including for some of the world's finest buildings.

The exhibition is a tribute to 50 years of diplomatic ties between China and France.

Contact the writer at sundayed@chinadaily.com.cn

 Celluloid dreams

La Seine is seen among the 50 photos of historic sites in the show.

(China Daily 06/22/2014 page9)