Pv 1935 03 21 Fan Se Yeng TraitPv 1935 03 21 Fan Se Yeng Trait
©Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2024

"Tintin, Hergé and Chang" : discover a unique double exhibition on the Côte d’Azur

From 27 January to 30 June, the Museum of Asian Arts and Lympia cultural space in Nice have been highlighting the many dimensions of Tintin’s creator during a double exhibition entitled “Tintin, Hergé and Chang”. Like a childhood memory, here, you can discover an exceptional selection of rare documents, original drawings and objects, presented for the first time on the Côte d’Azur. Guided tours and workshops for young and old further enrich the experience, making it even more immersive.

Celebrating one of the most important artists of the 20th century

Born in 1907 in Belgium, Georges Remi, better known as Hergé, began his career in journalism before devoting himself fully to comics. This introduced the famous reporter with the blond tuft of hair into the literary landscape in 1929, beginning an extraordinary adventure which would leave its mark on the history of comics. Translated into dozens of languages, Tintin’s series of adventures, made up of 24 books, quickly established itself as a global phenomenon, transcending borders and becoming a pillar of popular culture. While he never ceased to inspire generations of readers and authors, Hergé played a major role in the evolution of comics by introducing an innovative graphic style, that of the famous ligne claire (clear line), and tackling varied themes ranging from adventure to social satire. His meeting with Chang Chong-Chen would, however, play a decisive role in Hergé’s work.

Hergé and Chang, an unwavering friendship

It was in 1934, at the starting point of taking his hero on a journey to the Middle Kingdom, that Tintin’s father met Chang Chong-Chen, a 27-year-old Fine Arts student, who had temporarily settled in the Belgian capital. From these Sunday meetings over more than a year, during which Chang coached his student on the cultural, artistic and political aspects of China until then unknown to Hergé, a deep friendship was born. Thanks to his friend’s stories, Hergé discovered China through a new lens and became passionate about the history and culture of these people from the Far East. The character of Chang thus joined the adventures of the cult reporter and his gang.

Chang’s influence on Hergé’s life and work

This friendship also led Hergé to deepen his knowledge of the country and avoid caricatures and approximations in his works. Their relationship thus had a considerable impact, demonstrating Hergé’s ability to develop and incorporate new perspectives into his work. Featuring in The Blue Lotus and Tintin in Tibet, Chang became a character of great importance within the adventures of Tintin. Hergé’s remarkable success in moving readers undoubtedly lies in his ability to transpose his own story with Chang Chong-Chen through the famous reporter and his Chinese alter ego, as a tribute to this deep friendship. The exhibition at the Museum of Asian Arts in Nice tells us the story of these two friendships, between Hergé and Chang, and between Chang and Tintin.

“Tintin and Chang”: discover a friendship that transcends borders at the Museum of Asian Arts in Nice

Imbued by the discovery of otherness within this budding friendship, Hergé was profoundly transformed by his meeting with Chang Chong-Chen. The characters who accompany Tintin acquire a significant place in his comics, symbolising the reporter’s openness to the world, but also that of his creator. And while choosing a new location for Tintin’s adventures is never without significance, Hergé’s quest for authenticity ends up taking his hero to Tibet. His pencil transposes the atmosphere of the cities, the crowds and women in saris, fluctuating between the bustle of New Delhi and the Olympian calm of the Himalayas. It’s on these imposing heights that Tintin overcomes obstacles to find his friend Chang. This metaphorical quest echoes Hergé’s personal life, as he wonders about the fate of the friend he lost sight of and who he eventually found again in 1981. At the Museum of Asian Arts, the book plates feature alongside the documentation sheets, photographs and specialist works the author liked to consult to transport us into the fascinating adventures of Tintin. The scene is further enriched by the presence of personal items that belonged to Chang and Hergé for a more complete experience.

“Hergé and Art”: immerse yourself in the creative life of Hergé at the Lympia cultural space at the port of Nice

At the Lympia cultural space, another adventure comes to light, that of the meeting between Hergé and Art. The exhibition offers an autobiographical journey through which we can follow the course of this complete artist. The first part presents works that trace his creative evolution as a comic book artist, while the second offers an overview of his art collection and pictorial creations. Because from his first years with the newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, he was aware of a multitude of artistic movements. Van Gogh, Goya and even Monet became sources of inspiration, and Hergé immersed himself in museums and exhibitions in art galleries to perfect his knowledge in this field. Though he considered moving away from comics for a while, this insatiable creator returned to his first love, the art in which he excelled throughout his life. From illustration to comics, advertising, press cartoons and the visual arts, the Lympia cultural space at the port of Nice provides the talented Hergé with the honour he deserves.