EXPLORING DEATH THROUGH AN AVATAR
Chinese video artist presents her works at Art Basel Hong Kong
Lu Yang uses videos as a process of enlightenment. What might sound hard to grasp is easily understood when watched. Narratives of self-mutilation, that show Yang as a 3D genderless simulation, a manufactured human with a grotesque touch.
IRL death is a vital topic in her best known videos Delusional Mandala (2015) and Delusional Crime and Punishment (2016).
Torture, killing and dance. A weird colourful vibe that feels just right.
Her work succeeds to touch on early animation movies and somewhat of a Sims aesthetic. It plays with synthetic potential and its inevitable condemnation. Like when playing the actual Sims game on a computer 15 years ago, one might be drawn to the dark side (raise your hand if innocent). Yang has total control over the avatar, that mirrors herself and explores rather sadist possibilities.
„I see my videos as forms of meditation. New answers appear to me during my working process, which in turn leads me to new pieces and proposals.“
Her view on death is strongly influenced by the buddhist tradition and goes on to explain that in Buddhism, they say that when a person dies, the four elements – earth, wind, fire, and water – start to divide. So the moments before you die are actually quite painful. When the water leaves your body, you feel it in your throat. You’re thirsty, your blood dries up in your veins, and when earth leaves, you feel your muscles cramp and heave. Fire is temperature and, lastly, the air leaves your body and you stop breathing.
Yang has also shown her work in Berlin, that was for Société gallery back in 2017. A glowing 1980s arcade – feeling like a computer-generated cosmos.
In her new works, presented by Société gallery in Art Basel Hong Kong’s Discoveries sector, Yang’s head is both in and out of the screen, as if decapitated. Her message is not to give answers but to add more layers to the question itself. She sees her work as a video game, building her own world and story.
„I’m basically playing my work until it’s finished.“
Text JULIA DEUTSCH