Yao Lu's concern about the impact of China’s rampant path towards urbanization is portrayed in photomontaged manipulations that borrow from the classical Chinese aesthetic style of painting. Mostly circular, fan-shaped, or scroll-like, Lu’s harmonious landscapes are populated by tiny figures walking through the mist. However, a closer look reveals the chimerical mountain scenes are in fact construction sites scaled out of proportion. Lu’s commentary on the dramatic consequences of China’s rapid industrialization is further reinforced by the artist’s stylistic choices. His recycling of a traditional aesthetic to approach contemporary issues reveals the tension between society’s past and present values. Lu’s environmental message crosses borders and raises pressing questions about the hidden costs of modernization and global sustainability.
Lu was born in 1967 in Beijing, China. He attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he currently teaches as an Associated Professor. He received his M.A. in Visual Arts from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. In 2008 he won the Paris Photo BMW Prize for contemporary photography, and was short listed for the prestigious Prix Pictet award the following year. He made his New York debut with a major solo exhibition entitled “New Landscapes” at Bruce Silverstein in 2009.
He has participated in numerous exhibition and festivals including the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego; the Royal Academy of Art, London, UK; Fotofest International in Houston; Multi-medium Art Exhibition “Space and Transportation”, Graz, Austria; Paris Photo, France; and at GETXOPHOTO Festival, Bilbao, Spain. His work has been viewed in prominent institutions in the East including the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey; National Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; A9 Art Gallery, Beijing, China; Beijing Art Gallery, China; Brisbane Photography Exhibition, Brisbane, Australia; Daegu Photo Biennale, Daegu, South Korea; Lianzhou International Photo Festival, China; Made In China Fotofestival, Lodz, Poland; Pingyao International Photography Festival, China; and the SuoLuo Gallery, Beijing, China. He lives and works in Beijing.