Qing Lu

1964 | Shenyang, China

Chinese visual artist.

Lu Qing (路青) applied to study art at the Affiliated High School of the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing at the age of 16. Although both her parents had art backgrounds, there were purportedly early attempts to dissuade her from following such a career in the aftermath of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Undeterred, and wanting to focus on her own creative expression, Lu Qing spent the next eight years rebelling against what she perceived as an outdated artistic educational system. In 1984 she studied printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Art and had her first solo exhibition a year after graduation, in 1988 at Taipei’s Lung Men Art Gallery, followed by three other shows in Taiwan, in 1990 and 1993. She also exhibited at The National Art Museum of China. She thus began to establish her reputation both locally and internationally.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s artists were constantly challenging artistic norms, often creating provocative works and undertaking seemingly outlandish performances or happenings either in their apartments or those of friends. During this period Lu Qing felt a certain disconnect with these more explicit forms of artistic expression, preferring instead to focus on her own interests. By 1994 an experimental artistic group formed an enclave for creatives in Caochangdi, in a north-eastern district of Beijing. Along with artists, architects and publishers, Ai Weiwei (b. 1957), following his return to China from the United States in 1993, began to practice art and establish studios and galleries in the area. Lu met and married Ai, and subsequently they lived in the village together. Her focus leaned more towards a close circle of friends as she dedicated her time to the process of creating and making art at home using a range of materials, from woodblock prints with images of iconic buildings in the landscape, to producing subtle grid-like patterns, on paper, using various tones of ochres, grays, greens. These pieces ranged from small squares, to vast hanging sheets that could potentially fill a room.

Since 2000 Lu Qing has embarked on a highly disciplined project or “exercise” that has been at the centre of much of her practice in the subsequent two decades. At the start of each year she has bought a measure of silk cloth cut to differentlengths each time. The roll of silk is folded into a square grid of the same size and filled with ink, leaving natural coloring in the grid and forming uncolored lines between the grids, which are evenly distributed in a net-like pattern across the scene. Over the months, it unfolded partly on a trestle table before gradually unravelling and stretching out to a great length as she gradually paints on the fabric, sometimes made to join another table or rolled out directly along the floor; unlike the appearance of a traditional Chinese scroll painting. Sometimes Lu Qing will not work on the fabric for days, and one year it remained completely untouched. Other days, it will be filled with marks. The process of adding marks to the surface of the silk is, for Lu Qing, akin to documenting incidents or daily records of her life. She sees this rhythmic, almost meditative process as having little to do with making any direct socio-political statement, or having any particular artistic intention, whilst acknowledging that the patterns represent activities and moments that are often beyond her control.

Lu Qing has participated in a few important group shows in Europe, including L’Invitation à la Chine, Biennale d’Issey, France (1999), Between Art and Politics: China’s Women Artists, The Women’s Museum, Denmark (2001) and New Zone – Chinese Art, Zachęeta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2003). Lu Qing’s work is held in the M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong.

« 我不认为我的所为是艺术的,实际上在更多情况下,

路青 »
[I don’t think what I’m doing is art. In many cases, in fact, it makes me forget what art is all about.
I cannot explain it before I do it.
I don’t need to explain it after I’ve done it.
Painting is painting itself.]

Pamela Kember

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