I am back in Taipei with Ethan for almost 3 months, and after settling in, I was ready to get out and discover new things. As we have lived in Taipei before (for almost a year, in 2017-2018) and came back a few times since then, I was hoping to find something different from the go-to tourist attractions, something new and interesting.
Looking for inspiration, searching online but not sure for what, I happened to see an invitation to a vernissage (that very same day) from artist George Bayer, who was in Taipei to share his work about his humorous « French speaking » character, Le Chat (The Cat, in English).
Luckily for me, the art gallery (Vaikuntha Art Gallery) is located only a short 15 minutes walk away from where we are staying, so it was a very happy melting pot of chance and coincidences that brought me there. Serendipity is everything!
Bayer’s first exhibition in Japan was just a few weeks ago in November, and everything was sold out during the 10 days it was happening. This Taipei’s exhibition is only the 2nd art show for George Bayer’s Le Chat.
I arrived only a few minutes past 4pm (the starting time), and it was already full of people, listening with interest to George Bayer talking about his vision, his artistic approach and about some fascinating stories behind of the framed prints on the walls.
Le Chat is a colourful character, of no particular gender or age, nor place. He’s a nomad, roaming from city to city all around the world.
There is, I find, a nostalgic feeling to many of the stories those prints tell, and I guess it makes sense; when you live all around the world, you are bound to leave pieces of yourself scattered everywhere, and having many places that feel like home can sometimes mean that you will be missing those places, at least from time to time.
Well, in any case, this is one of the feeling that this exhibition brought out for me – probably because I have such a nomadic lifestyle myself!
The use of French words and sentences, sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, sometimes enigmatic, as well as the use of the American typewriter font both stir even more this nostalgic feeling; like the one you can sometimes get by telling a story from your past or from an experience you cherished for a long time.
French being my first language, I was equally delighted and amused to read them all. They all have a little poetic, playful vibe. Interestingly enough, Bayer did not translate his ideas from English to French, but instead, research words that translated his ideas and feelings and wrote his stories directly in French.
Each message, in it’s simplicity, can have many meanings and interpretations, but I did enjoy best hearing the artist’s intentions behind every one of them, making the exhibition and the opportunity to meet Bayer in person an even more special and unique occasion.
Le Chat definitely has a great personality and has a lot of stories to tell! Sensitive and fearless at the same time, it’s a character that we all want to connect with, and that we can all, at one point or another, relate to. Is Le Chat everyone of us?! I think it can be!
Le Chat loves to travel, loves food and is inspired by all kind of cultures, whether it’s from Japan, China, Taiwan, Russia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Europe and the USA – all places the artist has been visited or lived in at some point in his life.
OF COURSE, LE CHAT IS GEORGE BAYER, AND EVERY PIECE OF ART IS A GLIMPSE INTO A PERSONAL STORY OF HIS LIFE, OR INTO HIS PERSONAL FEELING ABOUT A PLACE OR AN IDEA.
Bayer learned from a young age that humour and story telling were great ways to connect with other people, and to overcome difficulties in life, and he did have his share of hardships.
Finding humour in his experiences, no matter how bad, sad or scary some have been, is what kept him going.
Listening to him telling me about his experiences and professional development, I was impressed to hear about the many amazing fields he worked in; from being a video creator (music videos, artistic videos, etc.) to a TV consultant all over the world, to working in fashion (designing magnificent fashion shows in Japan and directing Paris fashion shows), to managing artists, bands and a recording studios, this man has an impressive sets of talents and successes; a true entrepreneur.
I asked George about sharing any advice, whether it is for aspiring artist or, as it turned out, for anyone looking for success in their life. In a nutshell, this is what I got from him: don’t be afraid, get out of your comfort zone, put yourself in a situation where you could fail.
And what if you fail? Then keep trying, keep doing what you want, don’t give up. Adrenaline motivates us to grow, to be better, to do more. If our comfort zone can sometimes be a great place to create, getting out of it is where opportunities happen.
Not knowing what’s next is a creative fuel in his life.
It turned out that Le Chat (and it’s creator, George Bayer) happened to be exactly the inspiration I needed (and I found them exactly when I needed) in order to lift my spirit and help me make the most out of my stay here in Taipei.
What an inspiring meeting – thank you George for sharing so many great stories with me!
So as George said to me, take a chance, get out of your comfort zone; you never know where this is going to lead you and what’s waiting for you around the corner!
Questions about the artist and his work? Interested in featuring him in an event, a show, a collaboration or an art gallery?! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help!
YOU CAN MEET GEORGE BAYER AT HIS EXHIBITION « LE CHAT » (THE CAT) IN TAIPEI UNTIL FEBRUARY 3RD, AT THE VAIKUNTHA ART GALLERY.
Vaikuntha Art Gallery
No. 3-1號, Lane 55, Chaozhou St, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106