Shanghai -- when the Pompidou Center first proposed the idea of a branch in China more than a decade ago, skeptics in France were debating whether the country's cherished national museum should play a role in promoting French political and business interests abroad.
But with the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Pompidou Malaga in recent years, France's strategy of using museum diplomacy to raise its profile abroad is well under way. The opening of a branch of the prestigious Paris museum of modern and contemporary art in China on Tuesday marks a bold step forward in that effort. The French President Emmanuel Macron attended the opening ceremony.
但随着近年来阿布扎比卢浮宫(Louvre Abu Dhabi)和马拉加蓬皮杜艺术中心(Pompidou Málaga)的开放，法国利用“博物馆外交”在海外提升形象的战略正在顺利推进。周二，这座著名的巴黎现当代艺术博物馆在中国设立分馆，标志着该努力向前迈出了大胆的一步。法国总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)出席了开馆仪式。
The new building, located along the huangpu river on Shanghai's Museum Mile, is in partnership with the west bund group, a state-owned Chinese real estate developer. The state-owned company has reportedly invested more than $3 billion in recent years with the local government to turn what was once an industrial neighborhood into a seven-mile waterfront cultural corridor.
The new pavilion, called the pompidou x west bund project, is located in the newly completed west bund art museum. Designed by British architect David Chipperfield, the pavilion has more than 27,000 square feet of exhibition space. Clad in emerald glass, the gallery consists of three exhibition halls connected by an atrium.
Pompidou described the project as the "largest cultural exchange project ever" between France and China. Compared with the Louvre ABU dhabi, for which the French and uae governments have signed a 30-year agreement, it is not huge.
The Shanghai project is a five-year contract, similar to the opening in 2015 of the pompidou center in malaga, which draws on its extensive collection to lend out exhibitions designed specifically for the Chinese branch, as well as educational programs and vocational training for Chinese museum professionals. After five years, the two sides can choose to end or extend the partnership.
Serge Lasvignes, pompidou's director, said in a July interview that the west bank group would cover the cost of the physical space and pay pompidou about 2.75 million euros a year, not including transportation and insurance, according to Le Point.
据法国《观点》周刊(Le Point)报道，蓬皮杜馆长塞尔日·拉维涅(Serge Lasvignes)在7月接受采访时称，西岸集团一方则将负担实体空间的成本，并且每年向蓬皮杜支付约275万欧元，这不包括交通费和保险费。
But pompidou insists the main motivation behind the Shanghai project is to promote dialogue, not profit.
If we really want to make money, it would be better to sell one exhibit after another to the major international museums, Mr. Lavigne said in an interview on Monday at the west bank gallery.
But in China, even the noble mission of promoting dialogue faces challenges. The opening of the pompidou Shanghai branch comes at a time of uncertainty in relations between the west and China, and the art world will not be immune to political influence. Censorship and self-censorship are ubiquitous in China's creative industries, and even private art galleries and galleries often have to submit project and exhibition details to get approval from local authorities.
The exhibition features works by Pablo Picasso's "The Guitar Player" and Vasily Kandinsky's "gelb-rot-blau," as well as works by Chinese artists zhang huan and zhao wuji. Although largely educational in nature, local officials demanded the removal of several pieces from the "shape of time" before the project began, and Mr. Lavine said there were "a variety of reasons."
这次展览展出了一些名作，如巴勃罗·毕加索(Pablo Picasso)的《吉他手》(The Guitar Player)和瓦西里·康定斯基(Vasily Kandinsky)的《黄-红-蓝》(Gelb-Rot-Blau)，还有中国艺术家张洹和赵无极的作品。虽然大体上是教育性质，但在项目开展前，当地官员仍要求换下“时间的形状”中的几件作品，拉维涅称其中有“各种各样”的理由。
We discussed it, explained it, and for the most part they agreed to keep it, Mr. Lavigne said. He said fewer than five pieces in the show were eventually replaced for reasons "beyond politics," though he declined to elaborate.
I really think -- maybe naively -- that as long as you can make something interesting, as long as you can make something that doesn't betray you, it's better to be there than not to be there at all, he said.
Mr. Lavigne added that, given the limited scope of the partnership, the museum would evaluate the situation as the project progressed.
The question for me is, 'are the rules being applied changing the nature of the project? ' ravine said. "If not, let's move on. If so, we'll stop."
Pompidou did not want to see the Shanghai partnership break down over minor censorship issues, mainly because the project had been nearly 20 years in the making. About a decade ago, plans for the branch were on the verge of materialized, but the deal fell apart at the last minute.
By 2015, when lavine came to pompidou and resumed negotiations with Chinese officials, China was already playing a bigger role in the art world. Driven by a growing middle class, China became the world's third-largest art market last year, according to the annual art Basel fair and the ubs global art market report. China also has a growing network of art lovers and professionals, including curators, collectors and artists, from well-known figures like ai weiwei to rising artists like cao fei, who recently held a solo show in the pompidou in Paris.
In the process of site selection on the pompidou side, the west bank became a natural choice. The art district, not far from the former French concession, already has several new private museums, including the Yuz Museum and the dragon Museum, which was founded by a billionaire taxi driver and his wife.
The deal received the highest level of official blessing when President Emmanuel macron visited China in January 2018 for a state visit and personally discussed it with Chinese President xi jinping. The project will open to the public on Friday.
Experts say China's motivation for the program can be partly explained by a desire to soften its international image, which has been tarnished by recent Revelations about its mass detention of muslims from the Uighur minority and what many see as China's increasingly assertive stance abroad.
China is very ambitious, said jean-philippe Beja, a professor emeritus of Chinese political science at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris. "On the one hand, it has become increasingly authoritarian and closed, and on the other, it wants to portray itself as a very modern, avant-garde country."
“中国的雄心很大，”巴黎国家科学研究中心(National Center for Scientific Research)中国政治学荣休研究教授白夏(Jean-Philippe Béja)说。“一方面，它变得越来越专制和封闭，另一方面，它想把自己描绘成一个非常现代、前卫的国家。”
On Monday morning, there was a flurry of activity at the west bank art gallery, where a small group of workers were working on the final details of the installation ahead of President macron's arrival. (as if to highlight the need for professionalism, only one Chinese gallery worker dozed off in the midst of the bustle, basking in the soft glow of a video artwork.)
The opening of the museum may be one of the few happy moments for Mr. Macron in what is expected to be a difficult few days of talks with Chinese officials on trade and climate change. Sino-french relations have been further strained in recent months by France's decision to grant asylum to the Chinese wife of the former head of Interpol.
For pompidou, Shanghai is just the beginning of what is bound to be a busy international agenda for years to come. Last year, the museum signed another five-year cooperation agreement with malaga's partners. A project is also under way in Brussels, and the museum is still in negotiations for branches in Seoul and the Czech republic, Mr. Lavine said.
Bernard Blistene, director of the National Museum of Modern Art in the pompidou centre, rejected Suggestions that the team was building a global pompidou empire.
蓬皮杜中心国家现代艺术博物馆(National Museum of Modern Art)馆长伯纳德·布利斯特内(Bernard Blistène)否认了这个团队正在建起一个全球蓬皮杜帝国的说法。
It's about building something, testing something, trying something out, Mr. Blisterner said. "Otherwise you're stuck in your castle with your collection."