Lu Yang

Sublimely twisted visions of pleasure, pain, life and death from a self-professed entertainer.

artist sitting with one leg propped on a pug stool, with their real pug on a chair next to them and a pug painting to the side
inside of a studio with various props, toys and screens
artist hands typing on the keyboard while simultaneously holding a pug
5 images

Lu Yang was born in 1984 in Shanghai, China, where they continue to live and work.


In 2013 the artist received a sought-after grant from the Asian Cultural Council, and in 2019 was awarded The Art Journey Prize by BMW in association with Art Basel.


Yang's work has been featuered in major international publications such as Frieze, Art in America, LEAP, and Timeout Shanghai.

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Practice overview

Lu Yang creates a cacophony of in-your-face digital aesthetics. Her multidisciplinary practice spans video, installation, painting, performance and new media such as VR and video games. Intoxicating films - soundtracked by pounding electronic music - flit hyperactively between stark images of violence like impaled bodies and napalm, to anatomical diagrams and steroid-pumped religious iconography. References to Manga and Anime, along with gaming and hacking subcultures surface throughout. While the artist resists any given label, her work is framed by legacies of Afrofuturism and Asiafuturism - like her predecessors, she uses science-fiction to reconfigure the present into an exhilarating vision of the future.

Lu is unafraid to deal with big questions. Why do we suffer? How are we created? Do we have free will? The installation Electromagnetic Brainology (2017) saw a five-channel video soaked in electric green light and framed by enormous fabric hangings reminiscent of both Communist and Facist banners, plus traditional forms of Chinese tapestry. The curved, high-ceilinged room had the architectural impact of a temple, and the film's Bhuddist iconography and intentionally academic voiceover serve to explore the boundaries of science, philosophy and spirituality. Savage and disorientating, yet irresistibly seductive, Lu’s practice is a cathartic investigation of existence.

“I don’t like being called an artist - I’m more like an entertainer” Lu Yang