Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lu Chensheng and He An

In 2000, The 3rd Annual Shanghai Biennial was a sign of the continual
movement of the city into the world art scene, as well as a transition
away from the haunting realism of only thrity years prior into the
avant garde. The translated titled of the show was "Uncooperative
Approach," but the English title of the show, simply "Fuck Off." These
coarse titles were obviously made to shock the viewer as well as
represent a new attitude of artists in China that refused to cooperate
with the government's representative ideals. Both Lu Chensheng and He
An were featured in the Biennial.

Lu Chensheng was trained as a photographer at the China National
Academy of Fine Arts, but today works largely in photography and film.
His work crosses the boundary between documentary and fiction,
representing the mysterious with fixed camera angles as well as
techniques of traditional landscape photography. Lu says that in his
work the setting does not matter at all, anything he represents could
take place anywhere. Don't read into these surrealist situations he
dreams up, Lu is intends to make no reflection or critique on reality
but is merely representing his idea of the mysterious. Recently, Lu
extended his art into the creation of a feature length film, "History
of Chemistry Volume 2." The movie was filmed in London (but again,
place is of no difference) and for the first time scripted speech
lends itself to the dramatic quasi-narrative that never quite makes
sense. "History of Chemistry Volume 2" is premiering in Shanghai on
November 18, 2010 at Focus Shanghai.

He An was educated at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in photography
but now works primarily in neon lights. He references and collects
ideas from popular culture, the internet, and violence and erotica. He
presents these ideas in a very personal way in order to provoke
reflection. Much of his work has a connection to characters as well as
his desire to interact directly with the viewer. Recently, He had his
first solo show, "What Makes Me Understand What I Know?" He exhibited
neon lights collected from his hometown, Wuhan, that have the same
characters as his father's and his favorite Japanese movie star's

Both Lu and He had a big start to their careers in the 3rd Shanghai
Biennial and their careers are continuing to grow today in Shanghai
and beyond. The artists take very different approaches to their work.
Whereas He is interested in the mysterious and surreal, He embraces
the realistic and seeks to make dialogue and conversation with people
about modern life.

Meredith Rankin

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