Modu Magazine: A Tale of Urban China

“Eldorama”: artists searching for the Eldorado – Exhibition

As every couple of years in the urban region of Lille, a large-scale cultural event is currently taking placeLille3000, which proposes exhibitions and events in several museums and public places of the metropolis until October.

This year, the event is centred around the myth of the Eldorado. Hosted at the Tripostal, a former mail sorting center, the exhibition Eldorama explores the story of the imaginary and utopian worlds of the Eldorado as imagined by diverse societies. With works of Cao Fei, Ren Hang, Wang Wei, Liu Xiaodong, Yuyang Wang, Chen Zhen and Qiu Zhijie, Chinese artists are well represented in the exhibition. The search for their Eldorado relates to urban life, its transformations and disillusions.

The first part of the exhibition, Les Mondes rêvés, evokes the hopes of people to become wealthier, to have a better life. In his work “Precipitous Parturition”, Chen Zhen portrays these aspirations through a dragon filled with cars, which replace bicycles in a new capitalist and urban China–cars have become a symbol for a better life, an Eldorado in itself.

The second part of the exhibition, La Ruée, represents the search of populations for this utopian, dream world. The two photographers Ren Hang and Wang Wei both depict a Chinese youth looking for its Eldorado through liberty and hedonism. Wang Wei captures the enthusiasm and recklessness of young Beijingers, which invent their dream world in their own city.

The final part of the exhibition, Un Eldorado sans fin, shows the disillusions brought by the search of the Eldorado, which can never be satisfied and thus never ends. Liu Xiaodong, in his paintings “Diary of an Empty City”, pictures the ghost city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia, built from scratch by the government in the hopes of an economic boom which never came. The city is almost empty of residents, the symbol of a dream world which was never realized. Liu Xiaodong also evokes the disillusions of the search for an Eldorado in his movie “K.O”. It tells the story of a man who left his natal Inner Mongolia to work in other Chinese cities and abroad, hoping to earn better wages, before finally returning to his village, the place he truly loves.

Through their works, Chinese artists question the quest of the Eldorado, wondering if escaping to other places is the way to find our dream world–or if the Eldorado would rather exist in our own cities, as long as we discover and accept it.

By Gwenaëlle Brandelet



Imaginary and utopian worlds of the Eldorado


April 27, 2019 to September 1, 2019


Le Tripostal, Avenue Willy Brandt, 59000 Lille




Martine Aballéa, Adel Abdessemed, Abdelkader Benchamma, Francis Alÿs, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Babi Badalov, Jules de Balincourt, Gilles Barbier, Romain Bernini, Hicham Berrada, Stefan Brüggemann, Cao Fei, Till Gerhard, Rodney Graham, Ren Hang, Duane Hanson, Laura Henno, Alfredo Jaar, Mike Kelley, Maria Kourkouta, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Yayoi Kusama, Ibrahim Mahama, Teresa Margolles, Ryan McGinley, :mentalKLINIK, Jonathan Monk, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Anne et Patrick Poirier, Younès Rahmoun, Peter Stämpfli, Superflex, Claire Tabouret, Thukral & Tagra, Anna Uddenberg, Wang Wei, Marnie Weber, Hank Willis Thomas, Liu Xiaodong, Yuyang Wang, Chen Zhen, Qiu Zhijie


 Jérôme Sans, Jean-Max Colard, with Isabelle Bernini

  • 2019/04/27 - 2019/09/01

  • Lille

  • Lille3000