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April 27, 2011

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Fairy tale photos

NINETY-NINE fairy tales from around the world are captured in 99 art photographs depicting famous scenes, all staged in World Expo 2010 Shanghai pavilions. Nie Xin reports.

Fairy tales through the ages have inspired painters, musicians, choreographers, writers, film makers and photographers.

The World Fairy Tales art project of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai has collected 99 memorable fairy tales from five continents. A famous tableau from each was meticulously staged and photographed in nine Expo pavilions last year.

The resulting art photo exhibition of 99 works and a comprehensive video of the project will be taken on a world tour starting in Shanghai in mid-September.

Tales include "The Raven and the Creation of the World" from the United Kingdom; "Volcano Lovers" form Mexico; "The Girl and the Tiare Flower" from Tahiti; "Selekana and the River God" from South Africa, "The Firebird and the Quest of Prince Ivan" from Russia and "Chang'e Flies to the Moon" from China.

The exhibition (dates to be decided) will take place at the Shanghai Gallery of Art in Three on the Bund.

Cedric Lazerges, founder and creative director of World Fairy tales, chose nine pavilions to represent five continents. Lazerges, from France, has overseen creative projects including photography, creation of fashion shows, art exhibits and events.

The project's French artist and photographer is Julian de Hauteclocque Howe, who is based in China. In 2003 he helped create and document Jean Paul Gaultier's first fashion show in China, and has remained in the country ever since, working on assignments for major fashion houses.

Famous Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei from Beijing joined the project and created the costumes.

Lazerges says the inspiration for the project came to him when he visited the Expo in Shanghai last year and toured "amazing pavilions."

He asked the director for a one-night stay at the Denmark Pavilion, and took his professional team, including his best photographer and models, for the fairy-tale photo shoot.

The picture, "Clear Crystal," turns out to be a brand-new version of Little Mermaid with a model emerging from the pool.

Other pavilions joined the project are China, Canada, Iraq, Mexico, Pacific islands, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Nine fairy tales from each country were selected and translated into 99 photographs, including 11 limited-edition photos per pavilion.

Works include "Clear Crystal" and the "Little Mermaid" from Denmark; "Born Again" from the Pacific Islands; "Crystal, Love and Fire" from Mexico; "King Arthur Lying Amidst the Fairies" from the UK; "The Raven Offering Fire to Humanity" from Canada and "Deep in Thought" and "Moonlight Blue" from China.

The inspiration of "Moonlight Blue" came from Chinese fairy tale "Chang'e Flying to the Moon." The story, set around 2170 BC after the great flood in the Xia Dynasty (c. 21st century-16th century BC), is a legendary love story about Hou Yi and his wife Chang'e.

The artistic work of the fairy tale taken in the China Pavilion, however, combines a lot of Chinese elements and the scene of the fairy tale - moon, clouds, smokes and birds. A model dressed as an ancient beauty reminds viewers of the beautiful Chang'e and traditional Chinese blue-and-white porcelain.

The project took nine months; Lazerges' creative team numbered 120 people, including 50 models and actors of 22 nationalities.

"I believe in fairy tales and I believe in art too," Lazerges tells Shanghai Daily.

"The Shanghai Expo has gone and nobody can recreate this work. That's why it makes the project unique and priceless," says the curator.

Lazerges first visited Shanghai in 1999 when his father worked in the city and calls the project "a tribute to the energetic and cosmopolitan city."

"Every day I wake up and have a new picture of this city," he says.

World Fairy Tales is an example of his ongoing efforts to develop projects that are bridges among cultures.

"I have no favorite work; every new one is my favorite," Lazerges says.

After Shanghai and Beijing, the exhibition will go to Hong Kong and Singapore.

"We hope to show the art related to the Shanghai Expo to a lot of people who have never been here," he says. "We want to show world fairy tales all over the world."


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