The change and development of contemporary Chinese society manifested in the change and development of its cities. These transformations and advancements in major Chinese cities are not merely the catalyst for China’s growth as a nation, but they are simultaneously one of the major drives for worldwide developments. Lu Hao’s art works tightly associate with these transformations and developments in Chinese cities. Lu’s art works embody the celebration, satire, and mockery of such metamorphosis. Lu likes to use plexiglass as the primary material in his installation works, and this specific material is often being used in the construction of buildings, furniture, and some large format building tools. And these objects, which are closely related to the city developments, are being duplicated into models. These models are not replicates of the buildings, furniture, or construction tools in their preparatory stage, but they are copies of them as finished products. These models resemble the souvenirs we bring home from our travels. In Lu’s art works, a city’s change and development became both breakthrough and problem; a city’s change and development became a course of game. A city’s change and development are dramatized, and people became the players of such change and development; people gave up their place to serious contemplation about the future in exchange for the experimentation of a game. Lu aggressively turned the serious topic of city’s change and development into a complete game. A city became a game of entertainment and desire. And Lu became the creator of this game.
The making of these “games” allowed Lu to participate in numerous major biennales all over the world, just to name a few, the Venice Biennale, Sao Paolo Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Lyon Biennale, and Istanbul Biennale. In these biennales, Lu made cities into dramas and models.
In the most recent Documenta exhibition, Lu began using Chinese ink and brush tradition to re-examine city culture and give it a new definition with “Chang An Street 2005”. The relationship between city and people has been transformed unnoticeably into that of landscape and people, contemporary cities are beautified through such transformational process. Contemporary cities also became the goals of people’s self-cultivation and homes of their spirituality. A city’s change and development are eternalized into a spiritual need. The effects of a city’s transformation on its people are being inverted into the people’s innate need for a city to transform.
The current exhibition is the artist’s first comprehensive change of direction after the Documenta exhibition, the artist is switching roles from a game creator to a traditional Chinese literati. Traditional terms such as “ink”, “line” and “silk” are finding their new artistic dwellings. The overflow of merchandises in contemporary cities reunited the combination of “color” and “line” once again. The relationship between people and nature has to be re-provoked on a philosophical level, meanwhile, “beauty” needs to be continuously touching people’s heart.
At last, I would like to end this preface with artist Zhou Tiehai’s quote from his work “Feng Mian” in 1995, which is “too materialistic, too spiritual!”