Press Releases

August 2005

University at Albany Art Museum presents The New Emerging From the Old, Lu Shengzhong: Works 1980 - 2005

On view at the University Art Museum
September 29-November 13, 2005

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 29, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Special event:  Storyteller Cathryn Fairlee performs Chinese folk tales,
Saturday, October 8, 2:30 p.m.

ALBANY, NY--- The University at Albany Art Museum is once again proud to present the work of a major Chinese contemporary artist. In 1996, the University At Albany Art Museum was among the first venues in the United States to exhibit an expanded version of Xu Bing’s A Book from the Sky (1987-1991), probably the most widely known contemporary work by a Chinese artist.   In September 2005 the museum will open The New Emerging From the Old featuring the work of Beijing-based Lu Shengzhong, another artist who established worldwide prominence in the 1990s.

During a 17-day residency, Lu Shengzhong will create a site-specific installation comprised of thousands of red tissue paper cut-outs he calls “ Book of Humanity: Empty Book.”  Responding to the height and volume of the museum’s center exhibition space, Lu Shengzhong plans to cut out thousands of Little Red Figures and attach them to strings that will reach from floor to ceiling in varying heights; additional cut paper forms will multiply across the walls and stack in dense piles on the floor.  By masterfully choreographing the playful, yet ephemeral nature of cut paper, Lu Shengzhong consistently creates work that is at once comic, dramatic, and complex.

While other Chinese artists of his generation looked toward Western styles for inspiration—most notably conceptual and mixed-media art—Lu Shengzhong sought out more vernacular traditions revealing how the vocabulary of folk art can be a catalyst for new art forms and still maintain cultural resonance. Traveling extensively throughout China in the 1980s, Lu Shengzhong immersed himself in the native folk tradition of paper cutting while also becoming a leading expert on other forms of Chinese folk art.  While his chosen medium and technique are traditionally Chinese, the scale and intent of his work are aligned firmly with contemporary art practice. His space-transforming installations celebrate the renewal of the spirit through simple means but also comment on the fragility of this goal, especially for those who labor at society’s margins.

Born in 1952 in Dayujishan Village, Lu Shengzhong was selected as one of the first Chinese artists to represent his country in the 50th Venice Biennale.  He made his solo debut in America in 2000 at Chambers Fine Art in New York City and has had recent solo exhibitions in Russia, Germany, Japan, and Australia.  He is a Professor in the Folk Art Department of the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing.

The New Emerging From the Old is organized by Zheng Hu, exhibition and publication designer at the University at Albany Art Museum, and Christophe W. Mao, Director of Chambers Fine Art in New York City.  Zheng Hu also organized the museum’s installation of Xu Bing’s A Book from the Sky in 1996.

During the installation period, Lu Shengzhong will be available to talk to interested student and community groups by appointment. To schedule a group visit, please call 518.442.4035.

Useful Links:
Artist’s Biography
Art in America, June/July 2005
Chambers Fine Art

For further information and visual materials, please call 518.442.4035.
MUSEUM HOURS: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

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