Thursday, October 25, 2012

Porcelain & Puppets

Still manacled to Graham, we went off to the National Museum of China to meet Vice Director Chen Luscheng and see the British Museum/V&A's Passion for Porcelain exhibition, which he loved. Then hooked up with Ruth Mackenzie (Director of the Cultural Olympiad) at the ugly Millennium Monument arts complex. It's run by a big semi-governmental agency called Gehua, who also organize Beijing International Film Festival, Beijing Design Week etc. They wanted to hear from Ruth how the UK's Olympic-related cultural programme was organized. She told them.
Off then to 798 for a chat about East Asia arts strategy with Graham and new recruit Katelijn Verstraete who's flown up from Singapore for a couple of days. I met her once before, in Bangkok, in connection with her previous job at the Asia Europe Foundation. She's only been with us for a fortnight but is bright as a button - and speaks fluent Chinese, English, German, French... Sigh...
Popped in to see an unfortunately dull i-D Magazine exhibition at the oddly named Enjoy Museum before the long crawl in heavy traffic to see Bind Summit's The Table - a fantastic piece of puppet theatre. Sounds naff?  For kids?  Not so: it's a sophisticated and very funny play about Moses's last hours in the desert (or in this case, on top of a table) with three guys in black operating, Bunraku-style, a 2ft high cantankerous prophet with a cardboard head. The 15-minute encore of 'a French film' using a couple of hundred A4 sheets of paper from a briefcase was even better.

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