John Dodelande is part of a new generation of Silk Road country entrepreneurs. A French businessman, he has an accomplished business track record, with holdings spanning real estate and agriculture, based in Tbilisi, Georgia. In both his business and art collection, he aims to create cultural and commercial connections between East and West.The John Dodelande Art Collection is based upon his passion for the extraordinary world of Chinese contemporary art, building upon values and aesthetics that largely still remain a mystery to Western audiences. The primary function of the collection is to celebrate the energy of Chinese contemporary art during this unprecedented era in the art of the Far East.Well-established yet constantly evolving, the collection is notable both for its curatorial management and creative content. In particular, Dodelande works closely with the artists in his collection to promote their work through museum-quality films, books and exhibitions, and he also lends his work to international exhibitions and institutions. As part of his commitment to supporting Chinese contemporary art, he has founded a patrons group dedicated to collecting work in this field at Le Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in his native city.
With his business and collecting activities focused on China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Dodelande is building a bridge that spans from Continental Europe to Mainland China, following the path of ancient commerce. The ambition of the John Dodelande Art Collection is to create a contemporary homage to the legendary Silk Road, the historical cultural and trade route that connected Xi’an to Rome, bringing Asian culture to eager Western audiences. For him, the exchange is measured not in silk, but rather in a carefully curated collection of modern and contemporary artworks that reflect the dazzling diversity of the artists’ mediums and aesthetic practice, and of Chinese culture itself.
An entrepreneur since his early 20s, Dodelande started his first businesses in the fashion and textile trade, when he discovered the Silk Road countries. Settling in Georgia, he first invested and developed agricultural land, developing what is now a leading agri-business holding in the Caucasus region. He further diversified his activities in the food processing sector, currently owning two factories in Georgia. Dodelande has pioneered ambitious real estate developments, with his latest project set to redefine the area around Tbilisi airport with hotels, international fuel station, MacDonalds and modern parking facilities by 2019-20.
As a collector, Dodelande continues to devote a percentage of his business earnings to his primary passion: his Chinese contemporary art collection, which highlights the work of 10 major artists (the full collection includes work by more than 30 artists). He further supports Chinese artists by publishing artists’ monographs, producing videos, and mounting museum exhibitions in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. This artistic outreach aims to create a synergy and a dialogue between the different cultures of the Silk Road region, including with the economic and geopolitical situation in and around China, as it embarks on its ‘one belt, one road’ project.
Dodelande, a French citizen, was granted Georgian Citizenship in 2013 by the President of Georgia for exceptional services to the country.
As a keen mountaineer, Dodelande has climbed some of the highest and most remote peaks on earth including the Carstens Peak in New Guinee, the Damavand in Iran and the Mt. Sidley in Antarctica.