We look forward to ending this year with the solo exhibition ‘Lu Yang’s Control Center’ by international Shanghai-based artist Lu Yang (b. 1984). Lu Yang’s artistic universe unfolds and explores themes and formats that combine traditional Chinese iconography with digital subculture. With a fascination of the human body and neurology, Lu Yang’s artistic work provides a bridge between scientific technology and aesthetics drawn from Asian popular and youth culture. Lu Yang’s works appear as a poetic madness of internet-era politics, religion, technology and consumerism.
Lu Yang often works with artists, designers, illustrators and composers to create immersive installations that move into provocative territories, with a visual language that draws on music videos, Japanese anime, manga and video games. The works are satirical and visualize a subversive approach to biology, a(sexuality) and cyborg bodies - works that, despite their apparent absurdity and morbid expression, ask basic ontological questions about being present in a body in a physical and/or in a non-physical world.
In the exhibition Lu Yang’s Control Center, Lu Yang presents two video works; The Great Adventure of Material World - Game Film and LuYang Delusional World/LuYang Hell, as well as the video game The Great Adventure of Material World - Game, all set in Yang’s surreal, virtual universe. In addition, six light boxes are shown, where each of the motifs relates to the aesthetics of the video works.
Lu Yang Delusional World/LuYang Hell is a livestreamed performance that unfolds Yang’s dizzying virtual world. Here, digital voyeurism and online cultures merge in a collision of Chinese mythology, sci-fi futures and live performance. The video features a dancer wearing motion capture technology materialized as an avatar, whose movements are projected as hybrids of distorted deities, manga-inspired mutants and cyborgs. A projection that makes one consider what role the physical body actually plays for a virtual being and vice versa.
In the video work The Great Adventure of Material World - Game Film, Yang hyperactively cuts between images of twisted, spiked bodies, severed limbs, cancer cells, napalm and toadstool clouds, all to the soundtrack of throbbing electronic music. In the video game The Great Adventure of Material World - Game, the viewer gets the opportunity to enter as an avatar in Lu Yang’s universe and experience, on their own virtual body, a world of endless contradictions that they are then able to investigate coexistence of. Pleasure, pain, life and death are in symbiosis in Yang’s works, and the poetic form and aesthetics of Yang’s work are as alluring as they are disturbing - a catharsis that unites violence and peace, fear and elation.
Lu Yang (b. 1984) was born and raised in Shanghai, China. Lu Yang is a graduate of The New Media Art department at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. Lu Yang has been represented at international triennials/biennials such as; Asia Society NY Art Triennial 2021, Bangkok Art Triennial 2020, Shanghai Biennial 2018 and 2012, Athens Biennial 2018, Liverpool Biennial 2016, Montreal International Digital Art Biennial 2016, and Venice Biennial 2015 - China Pavilion (Digital Gods). LuYang’s works have been exhibited at major international exhibitions such as UCCA Beijing, Center Pompidou, ICA London, Musée d’art Contemporain Lyon, Momentum Berlin. Previous solo exhibitions include Electromagnetic Brainology, Spiral, Tokyo, Japan; Lu Yang: Encephalon Heaven, M WOODS, Beijing, 2017; Lu Yang / Delusional Mandala, abc gallery night at Société, Berlin; and The Anatomy of Rage (Wrathful King Kong Core), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.