How does one become a painter ?

french flag gif
LE Xiao Long, french, painter, Yilan, Taiwan, guan ying

Words played with me during my childhood. A friend a little bit sticky which bore the name of dyslexia shape my reading and my writing.

 

I never imagined that the worst of my nightmares would one day become an ally that should push me to resume my studies that lead me eventually to the world of ink and stroke.

Chance (Western version)

What has to happen (Chinese version)

chinese ax, shang dynasty, reproduction, LE Xiao Long, art, exhibition
Ax, China, Shang Dynasty - Reproduction by LE Xiao Long - 2003

In the late 80s, strolling through a bookstore, I came across a book that the small thickness of the edge attracted me.

 

The number of pages was then one of my criteria of choice ... On the first cover page, a large heading: "Anthropophagie" (in English : cannibalism). Happy owner, I returned home to learn the why of cannibalism.  

 

Horror ! Reading the first pages, I realized that my eyes had not accurately conveyed the title of the book!

 

It was not about cannibalism (Anthropophagie in French), but about Anthropology, and more exactly Social Anthropology !

prehistory, polished stone, hammer, reproduction, LE Xiao Long
Polished stone ax and hammer - Reproduction LE Xiao Long

Some months after, I read this book flying over all fields of Social Anthropology, the different currents and authors.

 

One of these authors herein was none other than André Leroi-Gourhan and the few lines which were dedicated pushed me to learn more about him and his writings.

 

I devoured his books without tiring, the number of pages was no longer a criterion of choice.

 

chinese calligraphy brushes, sumie, painting, china, taiwan
Chinese calligraphic brushes

The person with whom I was sharing my life, and became my wife few years later,  was student in Oriental Language University of Paris.

 

When the exams were not far away, our apartment was filled with students who were working hard on Chinese characters, who were becoming crazy with tonal problems of this tone language....

 

I watched them with amusement, thinking : "What an idea wanting to learn the language !"

taiwan, map, yilan
Taiwan map - In red, the railway track from Taipei to Yilan City

A day Marie wanted to go to Taiwan to improve her level of Chinese. I did not want to stay alone in Paris for a year, so I decided to follow her even if I was not able to place Taiwan on a map ! 

 

What a shock ! I pass on my first feelings but, for simplicity, say that after the hate came love and passion for this civilization.

 

During our stay in Taiwan, we only took one vacation day (we were penniless). We went to the Taipei Railway Station with our savings and we asked for a return ticket to any destination with the amount of our savings."Yilan" replied the counter clerk, and we went to Yilan City

plaster mold, sculpture, statue, taiwan, yilan, LE Xiao Long
My freinds, in Yilan City - 1996

Arrived in this small city about 50 miles from Taipei, our steps showed us the way through the narrow streets and we came face to face with sculptors of Buddhist and Taoist statues. I do not know what happened in my head at that moment but I felt that this unexpected encounter was not ordinary

 

We only stayed a few minutes with the craftsmen who invited us to take pictures of their statues. But it was already time to join the train. During the return trip, I had only one idea in mind: "I will do something with these photos. What ? I do not know, but I will do something with them." 

sculptor, statue, yilan city, taiwan, guan ying, LE Xiao Long's friends
My freinds, in Yilan City - 1996

Back in Paris, a social anthropologist friend to whom I showed these pictures told me : 

 

"Why don't you go back to study ? You do not stop reading books of André Leroi-Gourhan and you are interested in the techniques and technology. Go to EHESS, there is a professor specializing in technology, Francois Sigaut. Write him a project and present it to him."  

 

I wrote this project and I do not want to remember the head I should have when I met at the first time François Sigaut with, as any diploma, an accounting baccalaureate and as linguistic knowledge only "my" Chinese learned on the streets of Taipei !

 

I will not forget the presence of another Director of Studies specializing in China who took part in the conversation. 

 

But I had only one thing in mind: to do something because of these photos ... So I want to thank all the cannibals of the earth and dyslexia because my project of ethnography on the production of Buddhist and Taoist statues in Yilan was accepted.

yilan city, taiwan, sculpture, guan ying, LE Xiao Long, 樂小龍, french painter
Yilan city - 1996 - Looking at the Guan Yin my friend YANG Chao Lai was making.

So, in 1996, I went back to Taiwan to conduct an ethnography on the production of Buddhist and Taoist statues in Yilan with my photos dating from 1991 !

 

This field work was tiring but so interesting ... for six months, the nights were short and hardly refreshing !

 

I shared not only hours of work with the sculptors but also after work. When very late in the evening, I went home after countless Gan Bei (glass of wine or alcohol you have to drink down), my bike zigzagged to go back home !

 

And, after a shower, my work was only beginning: to make a fair copy of notes taken on the field work, sketches, data analysis, etc..

 

yilan city, taiwan, LIN De Fu, 林得福, LE Xiao Long, 樂小龍, sculpture, french painter
One of my best friend, LIN De Fu - 1996 - Yilan City

These sculptors have become my friends and I am deeply indebted and grateful to them. They made me discover their world, that of modeling, sculpture and painting. All of them, without exception, have given me more than I could offer to them.

 

It is to honor them that I use the name of LE Xiao Long for my sumie and paintings.

 

LE Xiao Long is the name I was given by Taiwanese friends. It means 'Joyful Little Dragon'. Actually,  " LE (樂) Xiao (小) Long (龍) " is more explicit than Patrick Le Chevoir ! I am small, I was born in 1964 that is to say, the year of the Dragon and I prefer laughters to tears !

racism, human root, evolution, exhibition, LE Xiao Long

In 2003, I had a brain wave ! I present an exhibition project for the day against racism which was accepted by the City of Epinay-sur-Seine, near Paris. The exhibition will be called " Homo Spinassien Sapiens ". I put into practice what I learnt at EHESS and in Taiwan ! In fact, I use my head and my hands. Man and material ("L'Homme et la matière", André Leroi-Gourhan - Paris : Albin Michel, 1943), it is not so bad !

 

If after reading this, you think you have understood that this paper was talking about a Social Anthropoid who did a Mammography on the proportion of Ballistic and Sadistic status at Bob Dylan City in Taiwan ... you have, of course, serious problems of dyslexia but rest assured, this does not prevent you from achieving your dreams.

LE Xiao Long

樂小龍

sceau, chinois, LE Xiao Long, baron 33750, artiste peintre

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