John Dodelande, the savvy French businessman, resides in Georgia and has a rich history of business success. Everything he touches seems to turn into gold. Inspired by his entrepreneurial mother, he started his first two companies in his twenties, which is no mean feat. His business skills are superb, and it is evident in the diverse industries he has ventured into and conquered.
John Dodelande’s first interest was in textiles and fashion after discovering the silk road countries. With the positioning of Georgia, it was inevitable for him to settle there. In Georgia, he ventured into agriculture and the food industries. The beautiful scenery, friendly people, and most importantly, the link to both west and east are magnets for foreigners to Georgia. He was no different and currently resides in Georgia after being granted citizenship by the president in 2013.
The link between the east and west was, and still is, crucial to Dodelande because of his immense love for art, specifically Chinese art. But it was not always so. What led to the interest in art and ultimately collecting for him?
What Led To Collecting Art
John Dodelande has a leaning towards beauty and aesthetics regardless of the industry. It was evident in the fashion and clothing industries. And that aspect has helped him to make the right choices every time. According to him, collecting started with his need to be surrounded by beautiful pieces all the time. With all his travels, the collection grew bit by bit. The art pieces he picks are not random but a representation of who he is as a person.
He has interacted with many artists, visited art studios and numerous exhibitions. But out of all these, the most authentic of them for him was the Chinese artists. He describes them as raw and not tainted by the commercialism of the west. He observed they come up with authentic pieces representative of their culture, unlike their western counterparts who follow the market.
How Does John Choose his Pieces?
You would think there is a formula or specificity in the choices because they blend so well together. But Dodelande picks by pure instinct, and though he is particular to technical details and quality work, his pieces lean towards the art with depth to it. These are the ones with double or triple meaning in them, which have humor, poetry and humanity but hidden to the naked eye. His collections are displayed in his home and sometimes in exhibitions and museums on loan.
His biggest dream is to connect Chinese artists to collectors from the west. Also, foster a connection between the museums, galleries, and private collectors across borders. Thus, the Tbilisi art center was born. The main aim is to bring Chinese art to the European market. For both famous and rising talent, the opportunity presented by the center is immense. Through exhibitions and partnerships with museum creators, he has succeeded in bringing the attention of Eastern Europe to Chinese art.
The numerous exhibitions attracted private collectors and also the general public. The events are long term and will continue until Chinese art goes beyond Western Europe, finds recognition and takes its rightful place in the global art scene.
John Dondelande has had collaborations with other collectors like Adrian Cheng, whom they released a book together. He also supports artists through books and videos.