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This post is also available in: French

News

Biography

Rencontre et signature aMusée national des Arts asiatiques–Guimet à Paris.

Born in 1966, Claire Xuan is a visual artist, a photograph and graphic designer. She works and lives in the Regional Nature Park of the Vexin, west of Paris. Having Vietnamese origins, she has been highly inspired by oriental philosophies and more specifically by the concept of the 5 fundamental elements of Asia – at the core of her creativity. After studying visual arts and design, Claire devoted herself to photography and left France for the United-States in 1991. In California, surrounded by visual artists, Claire learned the publishing professions. Once back in France, her artistic skills and knowledge of different art professions and approaches led her to create a concept of book-objects. These works are unique collections of photographs in their conception, combining books of fine art photography with handmade boxes of antique prints.

Only in 1996 did Claire Xuan eventually go to the land of her ancestors in Vietnam to create her first opus. This journey to the cradle of her origins and inspiration gave rise to many reports till 1998 when Éléments d’édition was founded and the portfolio Vietnam and the five Elements was released.

For nearly 20 years now, Claire Xuan has been publishing limited editions of travel journals, created on the five continents for “the Five Elements Collection” including 11 portfolios among which 5 are dedicated to Asia. She leads the conception, creation and distribution process and also works on commission in the corporation promotion field. There are no more than 29 original prints of her photographs. Her works of art can be seen and purchased during the exhibitions that have been organized in many countries since 1999 or directly from the artist.

The Five Elements Theory

The Yin-Yang system was completed by the concept of the 5 Elements several centuries B.C. The 5 Universal Elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water are not to be considered in the chemical sense. Though often deprived of their material value, they remain the origin of all things. Each element comes into contact with the one it gives rise to when the succession process is natural.

This ancestral philosophy is based on the observation of Nature, of the way it works and perpetually changes. Any thing in the Universe is the result of creation and destruction cycles. Any natural phenomenon including the phenomena specific to the human body may then be classified according to this rule. Hence the following classification:

The sustaining, creation cycle: Yang

Wood sustains Fire, 
Fire sustains Earth, 
Earth sustains Metal, 
Metal sustains Water, 
Water sustains Wood. 

On the opposite, the Elements can also get in conflict with each other when the process is accidental. The Five Elements then supplant each other as follows:

The vanquishing, destruction cycle: Yin

Water vanquishes Fire,
Fire vanquishes Metal,
Metal vanquishes Wood,
Wood vanquishes Earth,
Earth vanquishes Water. 

Elements and correspondences

Claire Xuan’s creative work has been freely inspired by the concept of the 5 Elements and their correspondences.

The creation and destruction cycles reveal the harmonious way the elements actually interrelate.

Indeed, according to this oriental philosophy, each of the 5 elements corresponds to an animal, a plant, a season, emotion…

In Vietnam and the five Elements, Earth is epitomized by a buffalo, Fire by incense.

In Madagascar Wood, Earth and Water are symbols of the great island.

Iceland depicts the constant conflict opposing Water and Earth.

Wood, Earth and Water are part of Provence, the last but one portfolio.

These 3 elements are also to be found in Japan. While Earth -materialized by sculpted stone- borders on the mountains north of the Archipelago, Wood -symbolized by the fine shades of green of the island forests- becomes glowing red in autumn and Water is represented by the deepest lake in the country and the famous “koi” carps of the temples.

Tea and Temples from Korea is extensively dedicated to these 5 Elements- constituent of the tea ritual. They indeed pervade all the steps of the cultivation and production of tea as well as the rituals performed in temples, at home or in teahouses.

As for the last opus, its title encompasses the whole book: Stories and history of Wood on Water.

Timber floating in the Morvan which features prominently in this edition perfectly epitomizes Wood and Water: the two Elements most photographed and represented in the artist’s work.

Portfolios

Sans titre-1

Stories and history of Wood on Water

SONY DSC

Tea and Temples from Korea

05_6121Q005

Japan

06_6209Q010

Provence

08_PALMSingapour

Singapore

02_11poissons

Thailand

11_oie

Iceland

07_ BAOBAB2_MADA

Madagascar

09_ ROSE NEG

Morocco

04_Fontaines concorde

A trip through Paris

03_bateau

Vietnam and the Five Elements

SONY DSC

Techniques and papers

EXHIBITIONS & MEETINGS

IN FRANCE

  • Guedelon Castle. Meeting and signature of
    “Stories and history of Wood on Water”/Treigny August 2016
  • « Salon des dames » Book fair / Nevers. November 2015
  • Cultural center « l’Hermine »  / Sarzeau. Exhibition and meeting. November 2015
  • Les Abattoirs  / Avallon. Exhibition. September 2015
  • Art and history Museum in Clamecy.  Exhibition. May – September 2015
  • Exhibition « Samouraïs». Nantes Castle / Meeting and signature of « Japan ». August 2014
  • • National Asian Arts Museum– The Guimet Museum Meeting and signature of « Teas and Temples from Korea”. / Paris. October 2012 – January 2013
  • Musée d’arts asiatiques – Guimet. « Le thé, histoire d’une boisson millénaire ».Rencontre / Paris. Décembre 2012
  • National Asian Arts Museum– The Guimet Museum , “History of a thousand-year-old beverage” Meeting / Paris. December 2012
  • La Folie des Plantes/ Exposition et rencontre/ Nantes. Septembre 2012
  • Quai des Brumes BookstoreMeeting and signature / Strasbourg. October 2012
  • La Folie des Plantes / Exhibition and meeting/ Nantes. September 2012
  • « Promenons-nous dans les bois ». International year of forests / Bagatelle Gallery. Paris. 2011
  • 13 rue Vernier . October 2009 – January 2010
  • Canon Head office France / Courbevoie. February – March 2009
  • FNAC Bookstore/ « In the open Air »/ Aix-en-Provence. November – December 2008
  • Press Club in France/ Paris. November – December 2008
  • Office of Tourism/ « In the open Air »/ Aix-en-Provence. September – October 2008
  • Bagatelle Gallery« In the open Air » / August – November 2008
  • Premiere of movie « Madagascar »/ Palais des Congrès de Paris. June 2004
  • Festival of « carnets de voyages » in Brest/ June 2003
  • Embassy of Iceland/ Paris. November 2002
  • Virgin Megastore/ Paris. December 2002
  • Biennale of « Carnets de Voyages »/ Clermont-Ferrand. November 2001
  • Dialogues Bookstore/ Brest. November 2001
  • Goulard Bookstore/ Aix-en-Provence. October 2001
  • The Marple Pavillon/ Avon. September 2001
  • « Amazing travelers festival »/ Saint-Malo. May 2001

IN THE REST OF THE WORLD

TAÏWAN

  • Taipei International Book Fair / Exhibition and signature / Taipei. February 2012
  • Le Pigeonnier Bookstore / Taipei, October 2010

SOUTH KOREA

  • Seoul International Book Fair. Exhibition and signature. October 2011

JAPAN

  • Kinokunya Bookstore  / Sapporo. July 2008
  • French Alliance in Osaka / June 2008
  • French-Japanese Institute in TokyoçJune 2008
  • French-Japanese Institute in Kyushu Fukuoka. May – June 2008
  • United Nations Gallery  / Tokyo. May – June 2008
  • Gallery 21 and French-Japanese Institute in Tokyo. / Exhibition and signature. December 2006 – January 2007

MADAGASCAR

  • French Alliances in Madagascar.February – June 2007 Antananarivo – Antsirabe – Diego – Majunga

SINGAPORE

  • French Alliance in Singapore. February 2006

THAÏLAND

  • Royal Siam Society de Bangkok. March 2005

VIETNAM

  • LL’Espace, Cultural center in Hanoï / April 2005
  • LL’Olivier, Sofitel Plazza Saigon in Saigon. April 2005

ICELAND

  • Reykjavik museum of photography.Summer 2003

MOROCCO

  • French Institutes in Morocco  / Marrakech, Casablanca. January 2003
  • Le carrefour des livres Bookstore / Casablanca. February 2003

FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS

Prices available on request depending on size and quality of prints

All rights reserved.

MAIN CLIENTS & SPONSORS

In the wake of the France-Korea year in 2016 Teas and Temples from Korea by Claire Xuan is still topical… When invited by the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques – The Guimet Museum in Paris during the exhibition Le thé à Guimet, histoire d’une boisson millénaire (Tea at Guimet, history of a thousand-year-old beverage) in 2013-2014, Claire Xuan presented her tenth portfolio Teas and Temples from Kore). As part of the cultural activities linked to the exhibition, the museum scheduled a meeting with the artist in relation to the tea ritual in Korea as well as signing sessions of her work. In 2013, Claire Xuan also took part in the first edition of the Korean Spring Festival in Nantes, and in 2015 in Regards sur la Corée (Views on Korea) in Brittany. She has regularly been invited to present her work by bookshops and book fairs in France and abroad.
Previously in “the 5 Elements Collection” but still topical through various cultural events…  To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Franco-Japanese relations and the release of Japan –the 9th book-object in “the 5 Elements Collection” – the city of Paris had organized In the Open Air exhibition in 2008 at Bagatelle during the Japanese Season. More than 85000 visitors came and visited the Gallery. Inaugurated in Tokyo as a preview showing at the French-Japanese Institute and the UN Gallery of the United-Nations University, this touring exhibition could also be seen in Fukuoka, Osaka, Sapporo and Kyoto to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the friendship pact with Paris. Once back in France In the open air, together with the edition Provence, was presented in autumn by the city of Aix-en-Provence at the Tourist Office and the Fnac where several meetings with Claire Xuan were scheduled. The edition Japan was presented in Paris at the bookshops of the Petit Palais and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in the winter of 2008.
Claire Xuan’s last opus Stories and history of Wood on Water released in 2015 by Éléments d’Édition was presented with the eponymous exhibition in several cities in Burgundy from spring to winter of the same year. It reveals the peculiarities of Wood and Water in the French départements of Yonne and Nièvre, from the forests of the Morvan Regional Park to the heart of the Puisaye. Naturally, it is extensively dedicated to the history of timber floating through photographs taken from the timber raft the artist travelled on in 2014. This timber raft reached Paris in June 2015 at the end of a 21-day-tour after an absence of more than 150 years during the Un train pour Paris (A timber raft to Paris) operation. This original and unprecedented object-book was composed and bound in two parts and two formats “à l’italienne” (landscape format) and “à la française” (portrait format). Claire Xuan. Petites et grandes histoires du Bois sur l’Eau. Éléments d’édition. 2015. 132p. 39,90 € Exhibition at the Musée d’Art et d’histoire (Art and History Museum) in Clamecy and at the Avallon “Abattoirs” in 2015. This edition was selected to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Naudet Nurseries (Pépinières de Naudet) as well as the 50th anniversary of the French National Forestry Commission (Office national des forêts).