Lu Yang, Material World Knight, 2018, video still. Courtesy: the artist, Société, Berlin, and the Shanghai Biennale

Materialism, metaphysics and mysticism collide in the Shanghai-based artist’s maximalist installations.

Lu Yang was born in 1984, the same year that Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (1975) was published in Chinese. A bestseller of the 1970s psychedelic countercultural zeitgeist, Capra’s orientalist ode was received in post-reform China under a truncated title, Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism, implicitly subordinating the former to the latter. Capra’s aim was to ‘overcome the gap between rational, analytical thinking and the meditative experience of mystical truth’. Lu might be driven by a similar desire, joining the dots between Buddhism, neuroscience and biology in an oeuvre that resembles a manga franchise populated by a psychotic cast of gods, demons and cyborgs – as well as the artist herself. While Capra’s new-age tome sought to attune ‘modern’ scientific minds in the West to the ‘ancient wisdom’ of Eastern spirituality, Lu’s science-fiction approach to religious iconography is a joyously accelerationist affair, fusing inquiries into consciousness and control in a dizzying cosmological cocktail.

Full article on Frieze.


  • Author Gary Zhexi Zhang
    Publisher Frieze
    Year 2019

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