LuYang does not want to be described. Born in China but not Chinese, biologically female but not gendered, successful in the art world but not an artist. LuYang’s beliefs and resultant creative approach make our identity-driven society, with its need to classify in order to comprehend, look positively backwards.
The cybernetic fantasia of LuYang’s video art is a doorway to a post-identity future. It is a realm of possibility where either/or questions are reframed into “what if?”s. LuYang does not expect all of our experiences of these works to agree, but three is an urge for all viewers to keep an open mind (even after the viewing has concluded).
The space constructed through LuYang’s work is distinct in its directorial style, with its network of recurring characters (including the cyborg superhero UterusMan, b. 2013, and Doku, neutered human body with a 3D-modelled version of their creator’s face, b. 2020). They populate a hybrid land firmly located in the uncanny valley, replete with kawaii and manga-style characters, techno-Buddhist deities and dismembered body parts, ordered by the logic of neuroscience and Japanese gameplay formats. This microcosm is not only a digital portrait of LuYang’s mind, but a world in which part of their person exists. It is here - in this psychedelic language of narrative, rhythm, and colour - that LuYang is best able to answer that pivotal question: “Who are you?” And in disseminating these works online via Vimeo, LuYang is able to share the answer, make introductions and open a dialogue with far more people than is possible with a standard verbal response.
We viewers might not be able to identify and label these pieces as neatly as our language and lifestyle typically permit us, but any viewer can aspire to this new level of innovation, connectivity and self-expression, where no questions have been fully explored. This is the future, after all, and the screen’s the limit.
Since graduating from the renowned New Media Art Department of the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, LuYang has gone on to collaborate with a host of illustrators, DJs, and sound artists to create work which transcends genre. Notable successes include Cyber Altar in the Discoveries sector of Art Basel Hong Kong (represented by Société Berlin), which was unanimously selected by an international jury as the winner of BMW Art Journey 2019, and presentations at the Bangkok Art Triennale 2020, Shanghai Biennale 2018 and 2012, Athens Biennale 2018, Liverpool Biennial 2016, Montreal International Digital Art Biennial 2016, and Venice Biennale 2015 - China Pavilion (Digital Gods). LuYang’s work has also been shown in major exhibitions at the UCCA, Centre Pompidou, ICA London, Musée d’art Contemporain Lyon, Momentum Berlin, and will be included in the Asia Society NY Art Triennial this year. Recent solo shows 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.
⁃ L. Anastasiou