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Critical Practice

Lulu Wang

Lulu Wang is a Chinese multidisciplinary artist, focusing on performances and engaging with traces of the body in motion. Wang explores and develops her understanding of symbiotic relationships between and betwixt the familiar and the alien. Her “research in action” engages with the Chinese cosmology of Yin Yang, seeking the balance between human and non-human. Her practice, especially that of trance-like trace-making, further articulates her understanding of the physical body through live performances and videos. 

In her current work Yin-mian, Wang extends trace works back to performance narrative to open up the boundary between the two forms of her practice, discussing inner and relative harmony of individuals.

Wang was born in Shanghai and now living and working in London, a founding member of Diasporas Now performance art platform

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Critical Practice

By embracing the ancient Chinese cosmology of Yin Yang as well as contemporary sci-fi aesthetics, I assemble performances that dive into the perceptional boundaries of human and non-human, the self and the other. Specifically, I refer to the ongoing and ever-changing movements in Yin Yang which might be perceived often as merely a symbol of still balance between interconnected elements. In my works, my body defines the territory of a container that entails entities which oppose but seek each other. While allowing the natural metabolism of such movements, I do not see balance as merely the end goal; it is also about the state of trance and the process of trace-making. 


As I focus on exploring the notion of trace and how the body improvises in the state of such man-made trance, I am particularly experimenting with a wide range of materials, means and media. The ephemerality of trance in my movements is traced in various ways: from acrylic paint imprints to staged video and digital media. The outcome of my practice consists of both the materialised traces and the liminal/transitional stage of performances. My spontaneous thoughts are translated into push-and-pulls which define the Yin Yang of each work. 


The expected and unexpected serendipity is also embodied within the video recordings of my performances. The bodily actions are responded by accessories, such as costumes, makeup, lighting, and unusual reflective textures. Sizes and shapes are altered accordingly, and thanks to close-ups and camera movements, the dynamics and paces can also be re-materialised. Additionally, such a reality of planning and curating these seemingly inorganic or unnatural shots is also what I have embraced.

Yin-mian is an experimental performance series, which incorporates music, materials, and improvised choreography to reflect on the swing between familiarity and unknown, intimacy and alienation. Stemming from the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang, the work represents a visual expression of non-human and human emotions. Yin-mian, meaning silver face in Chinese, is demonstrated by using reflective materials, a fragmented self-examination within the physicality of trace work, a reinvention.

The project currently includes two parts: The Ode and LOVE, telling the story of the transformational relationship between and within individuals. The series will be continually developed in the future.

Medium:

Performance Series

In the first part of Yin-mian series, The Ode aims at self-consistency as a way of representing the motion of Yin and Yang. Eliminating the opposition between the known and the unknown within the individual, accepting the fear of alienation and the criticism of familiarity, seeking liberation in the process of transformation. Yang is the objective form of existing in the world: body, behaviour, identity, external; and Yin is the thinness and density of subjective perception, emotion and mood, the reflection and doubt of external cognition. The existence of life is a mixture of Yin and Yang. When consciousness awakens, the first place where "I" exists is the body.

The conception is shaped by the alien visual language. The sense of distance generated by the unknown form of extraterrestrial life influences the visual tone of the work. Two abstract characters in a boundless space of light and darkness to interpret the interaction between Yin and Yang. Senses slightly grow in the dark and slowly disappear in the light. Light and darkness are inexhaustible, circulating and channelling each other. There is no beginning and no end, the balance continues in this constant loop of change. It is all so bright and so deep that I wander in it, a constant cycle forming a meditation back and forth between the known and the unknown of the being.



Medium:

Performance Video

Size:

5m 44s

Work for sale please contact lulu.wangyx@gmail.com

Medium:

Acrylic with mixed media on paper

Size:

149 x 194 cm each piece

Love is a war with our bodies tightly dependent

A story about a complex and loving relationship between two individuals, coexisting in the cycle of confrontation, contradiction and harmony.



I want to feel you, I want to feel you feel me, through this rope.

I want to be close to you, close to you in a way that allows you to be close to me.

Neither of us wanted to give up the struggle, that is where the confrontation came about.

Staring into your burning eyes with my guard,

I wouldn't stop, I couldn’t.


Pulling, pulling, pulling until we lose our shapes.

You and I are so alike yet so different,

I want to be close to you, close to you in a way that allows you to be close to me.

I want to feel you, I want to feel you feel me, through this rope.


Bodies are fused, the two become one.

It's your skin and it's mine.

Unload the weight, gradually revealing our true appearance. I can't see through you, too close.

No longer need to, my skin is yours and your skin is mine.

It's your skin and it's mine.


Medium:

Performance Video

Size:

3m 14s Preview, Full video coming soon

Work for sale please contact lulu.wangyx@gmail.com

Medium:

Acrylic with mixed media on paper

Size:

94 x 149 cm

Diasporas Now is a live-streaming platform for multidisciplinary artists from various non-Western backgrounds that use performance as radical acts of self-representation. The first iteration of Diasporas Now includes artists of Asian, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin American diasporas.  

This event expands the boundaries of performance as a medium by exhibiting a diverse range of forms such as dance, music, spoken word, and installation. The works will be live-streamed as both pre-recorded and real-time performances.  

Diasporas Now is a collective manifestation of personal and often political identities reflecting the multitude of minority voices under the hegemonic culture, featuring works by RCA students and guest artists Whiskey Chow and Chooc Ly Tan.

The platform will launch July 1, 2021 at 16:00 (GMT+1).

Diasporas Now was founded and curated by Rieko WhitfieldPaola Estrella, and Lulu Wang.

Medium:

Digital Platform - launch on the 1st of July 16:00 (GMT+1)

Power As Matter is a performance collaboration exploring a poetic interplay between spoken word, objects, and the body. The poem reflects the materiality of ceramic objects. The body and its voice weave into and between the text, creating a dynamic conversation about power, form, and material.

Medium:

Performance Video

Size:

2 minutes