Artists Historians Curators

Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong

10 Artist Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong.jpg

Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong, a renowned Chinese artist, pioneer and leader of the advancement of Experimental Art in China, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor of the School of Experimental Art at CAFA, the first Dean of the School of Experimental Art, passed away at the age of 70, following an illness, on 26 October, 2022 in Beijing.   

CAFA ART INFO invited colleagues, friends and students of Prof. Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong to share their memories of him by writing heart felt messages. Those who contributed to the eulogies included Xu Bing, Yin Jinan, Su Xinping, Chen Wenji, Qiu Zhijie, Ma Lu, Feng Boyi, Wang Huaxiang, Liu Qinghe, Chen Shuxia, Zhang Zikang, Song Xiewei, Lü (Lyu) Pinchang, Lu Hong, Feng Mengbo, Meng Luding, Chen Ye, Lü (Lyu) Yue, Zhao Wei, Ai An, Gao Difei, Wu Jian’an, Lin Xiaochu, Zhou Bo, Li Yang, Chen Mingqiang, Wang Lei, Xu Ping and so on.

As an important participant of '85 New Wave and the leading figure of experimental art, Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong was recognised as “avant-garde” and a “pioneer”; he was also known as “the ancient man today”, constantly absorbing the energy of life from the original forms formed by folk paper-cut art, while searching for and protecting the traditional “Peach Garden” which was in the trend that is in a hurry to rush to modernity. He was an artist, and also indulged in writing. He is a genuine person, but also defends rationality…

Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong started to cut the “Little Red Human” in 1985, when he visited the Northwest of China. He saw the old women in the village cutting the doll shapes with twisted knots of hair on each side of the head, it was so interesting that he cut together with them. He cut little humans copying the folk shape at that time. A few years later, a German man interviewed him about the “Little Red Human”, he replied that they represented the souls of all the “people,” as “Each cut figure together with the hole forms a contradiction between being and not being, Yin and Yang, soul and body, positive and negative, virtual and reality, just like each integrated life.”

Lü designed the first round of Chinese zodiac stamps published in 1989 that is the “Jisi Year: The Ganoderma Lucidum in the Mouth of the Snake”. In 1996, he designed the second round of Chinese zodiac stamps in the year of the rat, “Bingzi Year: Lights Ten Thousand Homes.” He respectively designed 3 sets of Chinese zodiac stamps when he was 30, 40 and 50 years old, indicating that his designs affect three generations of stamp collectors to some extent. “There is no so-called genius, I’m sure not, and even the creation is not originated from an inspiration. It is necessary to do everything carefully and well, exerting myself to the utmost,” stated Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong.

About Lü (Lyu) Shengzhong

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1952 Born in Dayuji Village, Dongping, Shandong, China

1978 Graduated from Department of Fine Arts, Shandong Normal University, Shandong

1987 Graduated from Central Academy of Fine Arts (MFA), Beijing

He passed away on 26 October, 2022.

Solo Exhibitions

2015 Last Century, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China;

2010 Lu Shengzhong: A Decade, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA;

2009 Shang Hai: Auspice From Above, Himalayas Art Museum,Shanghai;

2007 Square Earth, Round Heaven, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA;

Zhaxidele: Auspice From Above, Tibet, China;

2005 The New Emerging From the Old, University Art Museum, University of Albany, New York, USA;

2004 The Book of Humanity, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA;

2003  Auspice From Above, Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan;

2002 A la nuit tombée-Lu Shengzhong, Grenoble, France;

2001 Lu Shengzhong: World! Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan;

2000 First Encounter, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA;

Good-bye Sorceress, Chidao Countryside, Xunyi, Shanxi, China;

1996 Calling the Soul, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan;

1995 ORT-+, Wuppertal, Germany;

1994 Soul Stele, Adelaide, Australia;

Soul Market, Beck Forum, Munich, Germany Emergency Center, St. Petersburg, Russia;

1992 Red Train, Emden, Berlin, Wiesbaden, Hamburg, Germany;

1991 Calling the Soul: Paper-cut Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China;

1990-92 Calling the Soul, Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, Hunan, Guangxi, Liaoning, China;

1990 Calling the Soul, CAFA, Beijing, China;

1989 Life: Ephemeral and Eternal, Taipei, Taiwan;

1988  Lu Shengzhong: Papercut Art Show, National Art Gallery of China, Beijing (NAGC), China;

1987 Graduation Exhibition, CAFA Gallery, Beijing, China;

Selected Group Exhibitions

2010 ZAO XING, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China;

2009 COLLISION-Experimental Cases of Contemporary Chinese Art, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China;

2008 CHINESE GARDENS FOR LIVING, Schloss Pillnitz, Dresden, Germany;

2007 Perfect Imbalance, Exploring Chinese Aesthetics, The Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA;

Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom; 

'85 New Wave- The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; 

Net: Reimagining Space, Time and Culture, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China;

The Quiet Gesture: Recent Chinese Art, The Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA;

2006 Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, China Institute, New York, USA;

2005 The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Alrbight-Knox Galleries, University at Buffalo Art Galleries, New York, USA and Millennium Art Museum, Beijing, China;

2004 Artisti cinesi fra tradizione e presente, Marsilio Art Museum, Italy;

Universal Figure—A. R. Penck Lu Shengzhong, White Space Gallery, Beijing, China;

2003 Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou Museum of Fine Art, Guangzhou, China;

Blue Sky Exposure, Yizhuang, Beijing, China Synthi-Scapes: Chinese Pavilion of the 50th Venice Biennale, (it’s canceled due to SARS), later shown in Guangzhou Museum of Fine Art, Guangzhou, China; Openness, China Art Museum, Beijing, China Left Hand, Right Hand, 798 Art Space, Beijing, China;

2002 After All, de waan, Venray Asylum, Holland;

2001 Beijing-Dachauer, Dachauer Schloss, Germany;

Clues to the Future, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, China;

2000 Gate of the Century: 1979-1999 Chinese Art Invitational Exhibition, Contemporary Art Museum, Chengdu, China;

1998 Notes Across Asia, Berlin, Germany;

Recalling tradition, German Embassy, Beijing, China;

1996 Arcos da Lapa, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil;

Origin and Myths of Fire, Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan;

1995 Kwangju Biennale: Beyond the Border, Kwangju, Korea;

The 4th Asian Art Show: Realism as An Attitude, Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan;

1994 Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan;

1992 Post-Mao Product: New Art From China, Australia;

1989 China Avant-Garde, National Art Museum, Beijing, China;

Exhibition Curation

2012 Vanguard Class, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China;

Jiang Qi, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China;

2011 Harmonious Differences-Second Experimental Art Exhibition, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China;

Courtesy of the artist and edited by CAFA ART INFO.