Lü Shengzhong


Lü Shengzhong
b. 1952, Dayujishancun, Shandong
Paper-cut installation artist
When Lü Shengzhong obtained a master’s degree in folk art from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, he was already a veteran artist in developing a new genre of nianhua (woodcut prints) popular in the countryside as a New Year decoration. He remained as member of the faculty at the Central Academy. The folk heritage proves to be an inestimable source of inspiration for Lü. In the solo show ‘Lü Shengzhong’s Paper-Cut Art’ at the China Art Gallery (1988), he designed a spiritual labyrinth extending to the gallery floor with hundreds of paper-cut footprints, bearing men’s faces, wavering along the path. Together with this work, entitled Hesitant Steps (Chichu), Lü also presented thousands of foetus-like humanoid cutouts in red paper (xiao hongren). They swam away, confronting or leaving behind the shadow of their self—the hollow and ‘negative’ silhouette on the paper. Symbols of the human soul, these red effigies were going to follow Lü's footsteps in his search for the essence of life and art.
In 1990, he transformed his studio inside the art academy into a Séance Room (Zhaohun tang) with myriad xiao hongren suspended in and covering the entire space. That year he also started his journey by train, sowing the red souls along the Chinese rails in Vagrant Séance (Zhaohun youfang, 1990–2) and as far as Germany, in Red Train (1992). Lü has had eighteen solo shows to date in and outside China. His soul-reaching installations and collages have been exhibited in numerous venues, including the 1995 Gwangju Biennale and the ‘De Wann’ in Venray Asylum, Holland (2002).
Lü, Shengzhong (1990). Lü Shengzhong zuopin [The Works of Lü Shengzhong], Changsha: Hunan Fine Arts Publishing.
(1996). Mianhun ji [Searching for Soul]. Changsha: Hunan Fine Arts Publishing.
Weiqing (ed.) (2000). First Encounter Lü Shengzhong New York (exhibition catalogue). New York: Chambers Fine Art.
TANG DI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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