Tweaking traditional art

By Lin Qi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-12-08 08:02:04

Tweaking traditional art

Wall of Men, by Lyu Shengzhong, features more than 600,000 papercuts of 'little red men'. Photos provided to China Daily

Contemporary artist Lyu Shengzhong shows how an ancient Chinese craft can be reinterpreted in modern times. Lin Qi reports.

The last time contemporary artist Lyu Shengzhong, 63, held a solo exhibition was five years ago in New York. Titled A Decade, the show at Chambers Fine Art marked the 10th anniversary of the introduction of his avantgarde reinterpretation of Chinese paper-cuts to an American audience.

In his current solo exhibition, titled Last Century, at Beijing's Today Art Museum, Lyu expresses his nostalgia for the time before 2000.

"There weren't so many art galleries and museums. Artists did not have spacious and well-equipped studios. The market was not exuberant and art brokers didn't get a chance to push up prices," he says.

Last Century displays dozens of Lyu's paintings and installations in which he digs further into the motifs recurring in his art - folk culture, modern transformation and life.

Lyu views the last two decades of the 20th century as the start of his artistic journey.

He reflects on the cultural and social landscapes of China back then, through which he hopes to find solutions to problems of today.

He especially ponders on how traditions are inherited and merged into people's value systems.

Lyu rose to prominence in the late 1980s.

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