French philosopher Benoît Vermander captures flow of Chinese ink painting


An exquisite display of Chinese ink paintings by French philosopher Benoît Vermander graces the halls of Fudan University in Shanghai’s Yangpu District, marking a unique intersection of artistic traditions.

Featuring over 60 captivating pieces, Vermander’s exhibition at Fudan University offers viewers a glimpse into his decade-long exploration of the ever-changing nature of existence. Drawing inspiration from the fluidity of life itself, Vermander’s works evoke a dynamic ebb and flow akin to the waves of the sea or the vastness of the desert.

Influenced by renowned French artists such as Paul Cezanne and Henri Matisse, Vermander seamlessly integrates elements of Chinese ink painting into his oeuvre. Despite residing in Shanghai for the past 15 years, his journey into Chinese artistry began in 1987 during his initial visit to China. It was during his immersive experiences in Taiwan and Sichuan in the 1990s that he delved into the techniques of Chinese painting, laying the foundation for his distinctive style.

Reflecting on his artistic evolution, Vermander emphasizes the deep influence of both Chinese and French artistic traditions. He credits China for instilling in him the courage to pursue painting and says his exploration of calligraphy in China ignited his passion for visual expression.

Visitors to the exhibition can note the seamless fusion of Eastern and Western aesthetics in Vermander’s works. Delving into traditional Chinese ink painting techniques, his pieces depict landscapes adorned with features like water and mountains, evoking a deep appreciation for Chinese culture. Yet, interspersed within are unmistakable Western motifs, such as birds and monochromatic elephants, characterized by a contemporary design sensibility.