This summer, a surreal watermelon universe has descended in downtown Chengdu, injecting refreshing aesthetics to the city’s hot summer air. On July 15, Chengdu IFS, the city’s landmark urban complex, celebrated the opening ceremony of “the MELON-VERSE”, an immersive interactive art exhibition co-created with renowned French artist Cyril Lancelin, which was witnessed by government officials, brand VIPs and media representatives. For his first-ever solo exhibition in China, Cyril Lancelin purposefully chooses watermelon, summer’s representative fruit, as the creative element to construct an experiential space that’s both gigantic and immersive. He blends both virtuality and reality as well as perception and imagination to interpret the strong attractiveness of beautiful things and lead the public to escape their norm, more gently encounter the world, and harvest infinite energy. And revealing a gesture to actively embracing the digital world, Chengdu IFS is also releasing its first-ever themed NFT collection, a milestone move that seeks to empower artworks with new “life energy” and support the meaningful cause of giant panda conservation.
Master Visual Artist’s First China Solo Builds Watermelon Universe That Breaks the Norm
Reputed for a futuristic style and a unique creative mentality that tolerates no mediocrity, Cyril Lancelin has been widely recognized and applauded worldwide. Skilled at combining data with elements of life, the French visual artist starts with primitive geometric forms to create vibrant spaces that blur the boundary between virtuality and reality, using day-to-day objects likes coin, cactus and strawberry as his creative themes.
For its 2022 summer art exhibition, Chengdu IFS’ desire to amplify the city’s unique traits strongly inspires Cyril Lancelin, who has chosen watermelon, a fruit that can evoke seasonal pleasure, as the creative element for his first-ever solo event in China. During the creative process, Lancelin incorporated diverse digital approaches such as dynamic geometry, combination of structure, and technical parameters into his experiential works. In particular, he stacked more than 200 giant watermelons of different colors to create a six-meter art installation, thereby fostering a MELON-VERSE of both digital and structural aesthetics.
Spanning from ground to roof, “the MELON-VERSE” immersive interactive art exhibition is presented in two sections, “The Maze” and “The Garden”. Among the two, “The Maze” sits on the ground-floor Antiquity Plaza of Chengdu IFS, and is a gigantic watermelon installation made of light, thin inflatable materials that implies a momentum of flying into the blue sky with wings of dreams – thanks to a light and lively look, the installation exudes a strong appeal that calls on visitors to get free of their shackles and pursue a life that’s both energetic and upward. Once venturing into the installation, visitors will be immersed in an oscillating journey between loss and exploration, as if they were experiencing a unique yet intimate travel like information flows roaming in the digital world. Such harmonized virtuality and reality leads to a maize-like adventure that offers repeating exploration and surprise.
Situated right in front of the iconic giant panda art installation I AM HERE on the seventh-floor Sculpture Garden, “The Garden” is an interactive photo site customized for the city landmark. Amid the striking contrast between the roof-climbing panda and the well-spaced watermelons, the section impresses all visitors by crafting a “2022 limited-summer-edition I AM HERE”.
Not merely conveying the artist’s inner creativity, the immersive art exhibition instead stresses the interactiveness, comprehensiveness, and openness of art. That’s because Chengdu IFS longs for an experiential journey that mingles virtuality and reality and leads everyone to temporarily escape reality, feel the strong attractiveness of beautiful things in our universe, and explore one’s connection with art, city and all things in the world.
First-Ever Release of Customized NFT collection Supports Giant Panda Conservation
Being an active pioneer in the innovative integration between business and art, Chengdu IFS is also taking the art exhibition as an opportunity to empower art with technology – for the first time, it has created two NFT collection for limited distribution on NFTCN, China’s leading trade platform of NFT. Already available in full quantity, 1,000 pieces of the unique NFT that artistically portrait Chengdu IFS’ indispensable destiny with the city can now be claimed by the public free of charge.
And I AM HERE, known by many as “the second panda one can’t never miss in Chengdu”, Chengdu IFS is again honoring its long-held aspiration to support giant panda-related conservation and education – an amount equivalent of the total value of the NFT collection will be donated to fund charitable efforts that protect giant pandas. By then, Chengdu IFS’ volunteer team will accompany children from special education institutions to the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda for an experiential program as a “one-day panda breeder”. The program is designed to allow children to gain more knowledge about giant panda conservation and breeding in a fun-packed way, while ensuring China’s cuddly national treasures can enjoy a more comfortable and cool living environment in the hot summer. Therefore, each piece of digital collectible claimed by the public will translate into an additional contribution to giant panda conservation efforts.
Leveraging the release of its first-ever NFT collection and the new attempt of online charitable efforts, Chengdu IFS is hoping to promote the crossover between offline and online experiences, break the barriers between the real world and the digital space for greater synergy, and offer a richer and more diverse artistic and cultural experience by activating more brand imaginations.
Enriching Activities That Last Whole Summer Help Awaken 100% Passion for Life
During the art exhibition from July 15 to September 12, Chengdu IFS will also host a series of thematic activities, which allow the public to enjoy various surprises that last the whole summer in an either energizing or cheerful way. In addition, from the Qixi Festival to the Mid-Autumn Festival, the mall is also working with a select boutique bar to launch season-exclusive watermelon cocktails, enabling tipsy consumers to happily explore the “Summer CHILLIN Map”.
The concurrent online activities are equally fascinating, as game lovers can immerse themselves in the watermelon universe by maneuvering a spacecraft to collect watermelon energy in the customized mini-program “MELON-VERSE Adventure”. And upon meeting designated spending thresholds, consumers will also receive exclusive summer merchandises such as watermelon folding fans and watermelon balloons to carry on the pleasant surprise.
Using life elements to cultivate future art and leveraging art experiences to explore meanings of life, Chengdu IFS has for years presented the city’s residents and visitors with exclusive spiritual vacations in summer. And for the summer of 2022, the urban destination has again adopted a different approach, using art to capture and present the attractiveness of beautiful things in life, exploring the boundary between life and art through immersive spatial experience, and injecting the meaning and vitality of art into one of the city’s key public destinations. More importantly, as the urban park and shopping scene that accommodates Chengdu’s four seasons, Chengdu IFS is not only empowering consumers with fresh and pleasant life experiences, emotional resonance and cultural perception, but also continuously providing inner momentum to Chengdu to build itself into an exemplary park city.