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LU Hang, Rebel Painter

-- Yves Kobry (Art critic, member of the AICA)


Born in 1987 to a father who studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and a mother who is an art historian, Lu Hang was immersed in the artistic world from an early age. He decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps by enrolling in the Beijing School of Decorative Arts before going on to study at the Sichuan School of Fine Arts. After his arrival in France in 2013 he went to complete his training at the School of Fine Arts in Bourges. He is therefore a young painter who begins his career with an artistic background and knowledge, something very rare for an artist of his generation. This is both an advantage and a handicap because he will have to free himself from the references and virtuosity acquired to find his own way.

At the beginning he was influenced by pop art, in particular by Robert Rauschenberg, borrowing his themes from mythology and socialist imagery, such as Lenin haranguing the crowd or Khrouchtchev in a wheat field or young pioneers at attention or a military parade, in a graphic style with acidulous colors, playing with the contrast between the realism of the faces or postures and the blurriness, the erasure, the drips and the superpositions. From the beginning, Lu Hang’s work shows a desire to divert the subject, an ironic revolt against ideology, discipline and propaganda images.

Gradually he will detach himself from the realism of pop culture to adopt a neo-expressionist style in the wake of Georg Baselitz and Markus Luperz. If the painter retains the taste for large formats and violent and clashing colors, the motif is simplified, purified, the form becomes more synthetic, more abstract, more rough. It intervenes on a vast colored plane, sometimes almost monochrome, such as this human head, hardly identifiable, which floats on a broad red river. The character is isolated, sometimes truncated, perceived in close-up, often in the presence of an animal, such as these pigs destined for the slaughterhouse or this rabbit in the laboratory. The dog, a recurring theme for the artist, is a symbol of domestication and training to which human beings are also subjected.

Each of his paintings has a symbolic value but the narration is no longer descriptive and anecdotal but allusive. It is up to the viewer to guess or rather to freely interpret the meaning of the work. It is no longer a question of diverting a propaganda image through irony but of stimulating reflection and the imagination.

If Lu Hang’s work includes a denunciation and a criticism of the constraints exercised in a certain community, the message is not strictly political but has a universal and utopian scope. The hope of a world and a society entirely free where any form of enslavement whether it is by ideology, religion, work or discipline would have disappeared, where the man could blossom by his creativity, freely forge his personality and lead his life without hindrance.


Yves Kobry 


Art historian, art critic, and independent curator.

A member of AICA since 1988, Yves Kobry has curated several exhibitions, including the exhibition “Vienna at the beginning of a century” at the Pompidou Center in 1986 with Jean Clair, and the exhibitions Pascin in 2006 and “Russian Constructivism. Towards New Shores” in 2008 at the Maillol Museum. He collaborated with the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris on the exhibitions “Années 30, le temps menaçant” in 1996 and Bonnard in 2006.

He has also collaborated with the magazines Beaux Arts Magazine, l’Oeil, Connaissance des Arts, Les Lettres Françaises, and has written numerous prefaces for exhibition catalogs.

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