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22 Feb 2024 | The Temple House

Unveiling the Secret of ‘Yan Yan’

On the occasion of Chinese New Year of the Dragon, de Gournay, the renowned brand specializing in the creation of the world’s finest handmade wallcoverings, has launched a collaboration with Chinese artist Wanbing Huang and The House Collective. Rooted in Chinese mythology, the collaboration transformed Wanbing’s installation art ‘Yan Yan’ into a bespoke hand-painted wallpaper design, merging elements of ancient star maps to infuse the energy fields inherent in these celestial charts into a new cosmic concept. After being presented at The Middle House in Shanghai, the art installation is on display at The Temple House in Chengdu from 22 February to 13 March and will continue to travel to The Opposite House in Beijing. 

Representing a new generation of Chinese artists, Wanbing Huang and her studio conceptualized the installation artwork based on the prototype Suan Ni, the fifth son of the Dragon in Chinese mythology. In her creative process, she deeply explored one of the core memories of Chinese civilization - the ancient Chinese star maps. By freely associating and connecting the dots within these star maps, she conceived the prototype of the auspicious beast. This process not only pays homage to traditional culture but also reflects the artist's profound understanding of contemporary art and cosmic concepts.

‘Every auspicious beast has its secret, and Yan Yan’s secret is that it doesn’t like to move, because there are countless worlds and stories in its belly, so it prefers to wander in its own worlds.’ explained Wanbing.

de Gournay reinterpreted Wanbing’s creation as a wallpaper with the brand’s unique bas relief technique to highlight the auspicious beast’s texture. The distinctive technique features a special paint that rises with temperature so that it captures the evolution of ‘Yan Yan’, from the constellations to its flying figures. The bas relief texture was then gilded with various metallic tones and subtly tarnished to create the sense of scene emerged from the abstract design. To further enhance the vibe, de Gournay embellished hand painting on the bas relief background, featuring the five coloured soil rooted in Chinese culture.

The bespoke wallpaper and art installation will debut at The Temple House in Chengdu. de Gournay and Wanbing Huang Studio aim to use curved walls in large scale to exhibit the rhythms of the vast universe, welcoming visitors to step into the space filled with flowing energy and have a conversation with the auspicious beast to discover its secrets during the New Year. Based on the exclusive area at The Gallery of The Temple House, Wanbing will display her artwork. This piece artistically explores the new universes and the mythology of life's beginnings, drawing inspiration from China's intangible cultural heritage. Wanbing’s creations not only highlight her deep understanding of traditional crafts and their strength and delicacy but also reflect on life, as symbolized by the auspicious beast central to her works.

Through the collaboration, de Gournay intends to continue the history of Chinese wallpaper, while also highlighting China's intangible cultural heritage and the vision and creativity of a young generation of artists working with modern technology. The installation aims to demonstrate the possibilities of craftsmanship, materials, and multiculturalism through innovative techniques, conveying the Chinese cultural spirit while addressing the ideal state of the human pursuit of inner harmony.

Full installation dates of ‘Yan Yan’ as follows: 
The Middle House in Shanghai | 25 January – 17 February
The Temple House in Chengdu | 22 February – 13 March
The Opposite House in Beijing | 18 March – 31 May 


The Temple House
No. 81 Bitieshi Street, 
Jinjiang District, Chengdu, 
China 610021

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