This year's Voilah! French Festival kicks off in Singapore

Photographer Chris Morin-Eitner with his works featuring Gardens by the Bay (forefront) and the Marina Bay Sands (background).
Photographer Chris Morin-Eitner with his works featuring Gardens by the Bay (forefront) and the Marina Bay Sands (background). ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

French festival Voilah! features the work of photographer Chris Morin-Eitner, who digitally combines shots of flora and fauna with architecture

When French photographer Chris Morin-Eitner visited Marina Bay Sands last November, he walked away not just in awe of the superstructure's distinctive architecture, but wondered how it would look if the complex was plopped in the middle of a lush jungle.

This was no random musing for the 49-year-old. For the past seven years, Morin-Eitner has been traversing the globe and shooting landmarks in big cities such as New York, Rome and Shanghai before digitally combining them with shots of colourful flora and fauna to create utopian-like "photo-paintings" as he calls them.

"I love cities and nature and it is hard to have both at the same place. I wondered how these man-made structures would evolve in time and exist alongside nature," he says.

Now Singapore has been added to his growing collection of photo- paintings that he has named Once Upon A Time Tomorrow. Five photo-paintings featuring iconic spots Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and The Esplanade will be exhibited for the first time alongside 85 of his earlier pieces on other cities in the Gardens. The show is part of this year's Voilah! French Festival Singapore, which starts today.

  • VIEW IT / ONCE UPON A TIME TOMORROW

  • WHERE: The Colonnade, Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive

    WHEN: Till May 21

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: A free talk by Morin-Eitner will be held tomorrow at 11.30am at the Cannonball Room in the Gardens. Register at www.gardensbythebay.com.sg

    THE ART BEHIND THE GAME – THE UBISOFT EXPERIENCE

    WHERE: National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road

    WHEN: April 19 to May 25, 9am to 9pm

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: There will be two workshops on April 20 and May 2. More details on voilah.sg

    FAKE i REAL ME

    WHERE: Art+ Shanghai Gallery – Singapore Art Space, 15-06 Cliveden at Grange, 108 Grange Road

    WHEN: April 21 to June 26, 10am to 6.30pm, Thursdays to Saturdays

    ADMISSION: Free (appointments can be made for Sundays to Wednesdays. Call 8876-8030 or e-mail florence@artplusshanghai.com)

Organised by the French Embassy in Singapore and the Institut Francais Singapour, Voilah! is a celebration of all things French. The festival will stretch for six weeks till May 21 and has more than 40 programmes spanning arts and culture, gastronomy and science.

The activities comprising exhibitions, plays, film screenings and workshops will take place at various locations and are a mix of ticketed or free admission.

This edition's theme is "France Imagines, France Innovates", a nod to the recently announced FranceSingapore Year of Innovation in 2018, says Mr Marc Abensour, the Ambassador of France to Singapore. He is referring to the joint declaration by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and French President Francois Hollande calling for both nations to cooperate more closely in industries related to innovation.

"With this in mind, Voilah! French Festival 2017 takes on the theme to highlight the creativity expressed by both our French and Singaporean communities in areas such as arts and culture, science, and gastronomy," adds Mr Abensour.

One new offering is the photographic exhibition Fake i Real Me, in which Singapore-based French photographer Corinne Mariaud, 50, explores the pursuit of physical perfection among young women in Singapore and Seoul. The free exhibition will run from April 21 to June 26 at Art+ Shanghai Gallery - Singapore Space in Grange Road.

Fans of the hit video-game franchise Assassin's Creed will want to make a note of this upcoming exhibit: The Art Behind The Game - The Ubisoft Experience at the National Design Centre from April 19.

They will discover what goes into the game's production and how Ubisoft's Singapore studio contributed to the franchise. Ubisoft is the French gaming company responsible for creating Assassin's Creed.

Food is a major part of Voilah!. This year, the focus will be on delicacies from around Paris. The Voilah! French Food Festival starts from Friday and has four weekly themes - Restaurant, Sweet, Wine and Dairy - with food provided by more than 50 food-and-beverage partners. Eateries such as Saveur, Henri Charpentier and O'Batignolles will offer special menus and promotions.

• For more information on the festival, go to voilah.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore in the wild'. Print Edition | Subscribe