UCCA DIRECTOR'S FOREWORD
In this edition of UCCA's long-running "Curated by..." series, pioneering video artist Zhang Peili
introduces the work of up-and-coming multimedia artist Lu Yang. Just a year after earning her master's degree in New Media, Lu Yang is already one of the most compelling voices in China's new generationof multimedia artists. Using 3D animation, video projections, detailed schematics, medical diagrams,supporting text and music, she has created a brand of BioArt that explores the darker implications of modern science and technology. Her talent for juxtaposition is evident in past works that combine environmental themes with electroshock therapy, and state-of-the-art treatments for Parkinson's disease with techno music and DJ culture.
Here, Lu Yang juxtaposes scientific principle and religious belief by grafting the brain's "anger center"– the amygdala, the mechanism by which the brain perceives and expresses negative emotions – onto a Buddhist deity known as the Wrathful Vajrasattva. Despite its fearful mien, the deity is thought to be an embodiment of mercy, an expression of the Buddha's infinite compassion. But, Lu Yang asks, is it possible to maintain compassionate thoughts when one's face is contorted in anger?
With mischief and mastery, science and satire, Lu Yang dissects the anatomy of rage, forcing us to acknowledge the limits of our own humanity and our capacity for both cruelty and compassion.
- Jérôme Sans, UCCA Director
For some time now, Lu Yang has been obsessively,meticulously engaged in the study of biology and living organisms. But this sort of research is rife with contradictions: it is seemingly scientific but non-rational;seemingly refined but inherently violent; seemingly real and yet unreal. Lu Yang's unique individual identity,psychology, physicality, media and materials have allowed her to successfully create a range of peculiar,provocative and often-ambiguous visual images. Within this carefully-constructed reality, Lu Yang employs convincing visual language to expound on her own aesthetic point of view.
In an age when concepts proliferate and calculationstake the place of intuition, Lu Yang's attitude and approach are particularly valuable. Her works are a breath of fresh air, proof positive that dynamic artistic language need never again be a litany of seemingly "correct" concepts, nor an instruction manual of theory.
- Zhang Peili
Lu Yang (b. 1984, Shanghai) holds undergraduate and master's degrees from the New Media Department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Her experimental multi-media artwork uses video,scientific drawings, illustrations and installations to address topics related to science and technology, biology, religion, psychology and other fields, and tocomment on issues of control in modern society. Her shocking combinations of grotesque imagery and deadpan instruction manuals have made her the most controversial young Chinese multimedia artist of her
generation. Lu Yang has participated in a number of exhibitions, including KRAFTTREMOR Project (2011,Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing), Hell (2010, Art Labor Gallery,Shanghai), Torturous Vision (2010, input/output, HongKong) and The Power of Reinforcement (2009, ZendaiMoMA, Shanghai).
In Dharma-ending times, when all living things are unruly, afflicted with hubris, kindness and morality fade, evil and sin prevail, and none comprehend their true nature. The wrathful deities, beholden to their duty, shall vanquish all demons, and with their merciful fire, destroy all evil beings, leaving none behind.Though their wrathful visages may terrify, they are an expression of the Buddha's infinite mercy.
When the dead look upon them, they need not fear, for they are not corporeal, and no harm can befall them.When the first signs of anger reach the human brain, the information is first transmitted to the hypothalamus.This activates the amygdalae to carry out certain processes, which in turn set off a chain reaction by activating a number of other structures in the brain.These structures are responsible for transforming nerve signals into visible expressions of anger.
This project is a foolhardy attempt to superimpose religious concepts of wrathful deities onto scientific theories of the brain's anger response mechanisms.
The "Curated by... " series is free to the public,thanks to the generous support of Bloomberg.