The Book of Humanity

Works by Lu Shengzhong

NEW YORK

November 6, 2004 – January 8, 2005

Page from The Book of Humanity IV 人文書选页—肆

2004

Paper-cut, glass container 剪纸

17 3/4 x 26 3/4 in (45 x 68 cm)

The Book of Humanity 人文书

2002 - 2004
Set of 8 books (4 red and 4 black)
Paper, fabric, silk thread, paper-cut bound book
17 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 1/2 in (43.8 x 33.7 x 1.3 cm each)
 

For his debut exhibition at Chambers Fine Art - First Encounter - in November 2001, Lu Shengzhong introduced a series of works from the extended series titled “Calling Soul.” From the mid-1980s when he graduated form the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Lu Shengzhong has worked almost exclusively in the field of paper-cut although he has transformed this traditional decorative folk art beyond recognition. During his travels throughout China , he has become an authority on Chinese folk art and has published extensively in this field but in his own work he has moved far beyond the relatively limited functions of traditional paper-cutting. He was selected as one of the first Chinese artists to represent his country at the 50 th Venice Biennale.

Using paper and scissors to create designs of extraordinary complexity, Lu Shengzhong has exhibited widely in the last decade, in locations as varied as the hutongs of Beijing , Adelaide and St. Petersburg . For the present exhibition, he has produced a series of works devoted to the theme of the “book.” From a rural background where books were in short supply, books have always been of major importance to Lu Shengzhong.

On this occasion he has produced a series of “book-sculptures.” Using his customary red paper bound in book form, he cuts into its many layers and “liberates” countless Little Red People, as these archetypal forms which proliferate in his work have come to be known. Suspended above the matrixes from which they have been removed, these long strands of ur-figures move gently in the breeze.

Although part of the talented generation of artists who emerged in China in the mid-1990s, Lu Shengzhong has followed a highly individual path, building on a neglected Chinese tradition rather than following international trends. This individual path was noted in The New York Times review of Lu Shengzhong's American debut exhibition at Chambers Fine Art by noted critic Holland Cotter, “Mr. Lu's interest in playing around with the cultural traditions and the look of language … he has come up with a look very much his own, at once whimsical and hushed, part circus, part sacred space.”

*Catalogue Available

吕胜中自从八十年代初毕业于中央美术学院后,就几乎将剪纸作为唯一的艺术创作媒体。这个传统的民间装饰艺术形式在他手里又有了新的生命和意义。他去过中国的许多地方进行实地考察,并成为了中国民间艺术的专家,出版了许多相关书籍。同时,他自己的艺术创作也远远超越了剪纸传统的束缚。吕胜中在2001年11月举办的第一次美国个展《初次见面》中,在前波画廊展出了一系列从《剪纸招魂》中延伸出的新作品。他同时也是第50届威尼斯双年展参展的中国艺术家之一。

以宣纸和剪刀为工具制造出复杂的图案,吕胜中所创作的艺术作品在过去的十年中,曾在世界各地展览,其中包括北京的胡同,也包括圣彼得堡。这次为前波画廊的展览,吕胜中创作了一系列与“书”有关的作品。吕胜中幼时生长于中国农村,当时书本资源比较缺乏,因此书对他来说一直意义重大。这次他将经常使用的红纸装订成书的形式,再从无数层纸张中剪刻出着名的小红人原型,创造出了正反相成的“人文书”。

吕胜中是中国九十年代中期涌现出的才华横溢的艺术家中之一,但他选择了一条与众不同的道路。他并没有追求国际新潮,而是扎根于久被忽略的中国民间传统。这种不寻常的选择曾引起了《纽约时报》的兴趣,四年前,科特(Holland Cotter)报导了吕胜中在前波画廊的首次展览,并评价吕胜中“对传统文化和语言表达的兴趣,使他能够创作出一个完全属于他自己的表达形式。他的作品既充满幻想又宁静肃穆,展览气氛既像表演场地,又像神圣空间” 。

*前波画廊为此展览出版了展览图录

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