Solo Exhibition: Lover and Artist

Meg Maggio
Jul 27, 2013 3:42AM

Pékin Fine Artsis proud to present Lover and Artist, the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong of work by Beijing-based artist Fang Lu (b. 1981, Guangzhou). The exhibition continues Fang’s collaboration with the gallery following her participation in last year’s Wong Chuk Hang Roof Video Party, a group exhibit of 16 video artists’ works curated by Carol Yinghua Lu. As the title suggests, Fang’s latest exhibition explores the surprising symmetries that exist between an individual possessed by amorous feelings and a person compelled by creative impulses.


Fang’s three-part multi-media installation at Pékin Fine Artsin Wong Chuk Hang includes two related video works and a new, text-based LED installation. In Automatic Happening (dual-channel video, 29’, 2010) the main character stands in a half-empty space holding an array of random objects, busying herself by assigning strange tasks to each item. She drifts from food preparation to object decorating, all to no obvious end or purpose. She works incessantly, without finishing anything, her face hidden behind the pink motorcycle helmet that protects her against risk of injury from household work. As the critic and curator Chen Tong observes, “This work does not intend to ridicule the tedious nature of housework, but attempts to blur the limits between the act of representation (artistic labor) and what is being represented (housework). Therefore the pointlessness of the action becomes the consciousness of the artist.” (Home, or Studio? Chen Tong)


In Lovers Are Artists II (single channel video, 11’50”, 2012) the scene shifts to another moment in a similar space. Wearing an off-white dress, the main character has become a woman (and artist) in love. Alone, she keeps herself busy by painting and incorporating food-related materials into her art. About this persona, Fang Lu writes: “Is she a builder or a destroyer? There is no clearly defined role for her.” Continuing her exploration of this character’s interior world, Fang’s new LED installation On the Sea (2013) transforms fragments from the artist’s novel into an LED light display.


“In a pragmatic world like ours, anyone who allows him- or herself to fall in love is adventurous, since entering such a state means to be consumed, confused and isolated,” Fang Lu states. “This is not unlike the artist’s experience as he/she works alone in the studio. The imaginary character of ‘lover’ and the persona of ‘artist’ co-exist via absurd actions invented in my videos, so that they can interact creatively, sharing the same physical space, building experience from premeditated ‘accidents’ that happen in a lovers’ space that is also called the artist’s studio.”


As M+ Curator and critic Pauline Yao writes: “This crafty layering of improvisation, performance and documentation lends Fang’s practice overlapping qualities that neither can be nor wish to be fully resolved. In this context we can only continually witness the ways in which the body is a conduit for movement and gesture, and how the camera works as a tool of interpretation—recording, revealing, showing what we know but at the same time subsuming it within the murky sea of our surrounding reality.” (Fang Lu – Between the Staged and the Unstaged, Pauline Yao).


Fang Lu (b. 1981, Guangzhou) received her MFA from the New Genres department at the San Francisco Arts Institute in 2007. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Space Station, Beijing (2010) and the Borges Libreria Institute of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou (2011). Recent group exhibitions include ON/OFF:China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice, Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013), Art is Not a System, Not a World: the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial (2012) and the 1st CAFAM Future Exhibition, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (2012).

Meg Maggio