Enter the disorientating and darkly humorous worlds created by multimedia artist LuYang (b. 1984, Shanghai) for their first UK solo exhibition. Immersed in the cultures of anime, videogames and sci-fi, LuYang combines Buddhism, neuroscience and digital technology to investigate the mysteries and mechanics of the human body and mind.
The title LuYang NetiNeti incorporates the Sanskrit expression ‘neti neti’, meaning ‘neither this, nor that’. The Main Hall focuses on the artist’s own avatar, DOKU, created using CGI animation and by motion-tracking the movements of dancers. The six versions of DOKU that exist to date correspond to the six paths of Buddhist reincarnation: Hell, Heaven, Hungry Ghost, Animal, Asura and Human.
DOKU – Binary conflicts invert illusions is a new video commissioned by Zabludowicz Collection. It features the characters Heaven and Hell engaged in a dance on a yin yang symbol, leading to the formation of a new hybrid DOKU character, the binary god. Presented on a large screen on the altar, DOKU the Self follows a version of LuYang on a passenger aeroplane moving through numerous states of perception. The narrator contemplates the concepts of reincarnation, consciousness, and our understanding of ‘the self’.
Our Back Gallery has been transformed into an interactive games arcade, with the ambitious Material World Knight project at its centre. Characters from LuYang’s earlier works appear, accompanying you on a philosophical quest through techno-psychedelic realms. The Middle Gallery screening room presents a selection of LuYang’s key video works, made in collaboration with J-pop idols, music producers and scientists.
Entertaining, thought-provoking and sometimes grotesque, LuYang’s fantastic spaces don’t shy away from exploring human mortality and the nature of reality itself.
Please be aware that the exhibition contains flashing lights, loud noise, and themes and images some viewers may find distressing. Under–14’s must be accompanied by an adult, and young children should be supervised at all times.
Shanghai-based multimedia artist LuYang creates fantastical, often painful, and shocking images which represent an interdisciplinary blend of religion, philosophy, neuroscience, psychology and modern technology, as well as the allusions to real life forms and structures of natural and religious origin. The output of LuYang’s artistic practice spans game engines, 3D-animated films, video game installations, holograms, motion capture performances, virtual reality and software manipulation. The artist also collaborates with acclaimed scientists, psychologists, performers, designers, experimental composers, music producers, robotics companies and pop stars.
LuYang graduated with a BA and MA from the New Media Art department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Their work has been featured in major museums and institutions internationally, including recent solo exhibitions at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2021–22); Spiral, Tokyo, Japan (2018); M WOODS, Beijing, China (2017–18); MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, USA (2017); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China (2011); and Fukuoka Asia Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2011). Recent works in large-scale thematic exhibitions include The Milk of Dreams, 59th Venice Biennale 2022; Asia Society Triennial 2021, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Shanghai Biennale 2018 and 2012; Athens Biennale 2018; Liverpool Biennial 2016; Montreal International Digital Art Biennial 2016; 56th Venice Biennale 2015 (Chinese Pavilion); and Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2014.
LuYang was awarded the BMW Art Journey in 2019, following which they commenced the making of a new digital body of work titled DOKU. They are also the winner of the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2022 award, as part of which they will present a solo exhibition at PalaisPopulaire, Berlin in September 2022.
Image credit: DOKU – Binary conflicts invert illusions, 2022 (still). Courtesy the artist.