Lu Yang (Milk of Dreams, Giardini Arsenale
Exhibitor Lu Yang are a Shanghai-based digital artist whose work spans New Media techniques, including animation, motion capture, and arcade-style game installation. Embracing the ability of digital landscapes to constantly be in flux, the multi-media artist draws on the belief within Buddhism that all things “arise, abide, change and disappear.” In her work, neither artist nor viewer should be bound by permanent physical states or enduring labels, resisting markers such as gender, race, or nationality.
Titled Digital Descending, and forms part of the series DOKU: 6 Realms of Reincarnation (2020-Present) in which the artist’s self-styled, genderless, avatar DOKU appears. The digital recreation is generated from hyper-realistic 3-d scans of Yang’s own face, reproducing over 200 facial expressions with uncanny accuracy. At the Biennale, visitors can watch Yang’s animation as the artist accompanies DOKU on an animated journey through disparate universes filled with mythical gods, demons and cyborgs, encompassing inspirations from Japanese manga, gaming culture and eastern religions. The six trips include heaven, hell, and fantasy worlds, accompanied by sardonic takes on real-world events.
This is Yang’s second time exhibiting at the Biennale after her work Moving Gods (2015) was displayed for the China Pavilion in 2015. In an interview with Proud Magazine, Yang admit their work is not for the faint of heart, commenting, “so many things in my works may seem cruel, abnormal and violent,”. Yet, the absurd world they unflinchingly generate deliberately pushes the possibility of fantasy and technology to the edges leading the viewer to self-reflect on human nature, including confronting anger, obsession and ultimately, death.