Xiao Lu: Art as Chance Encounter with Life

September 29, 2023

Presented by David Lam Centre and Centre A.

This event was presented in Chinese (國語) and English.

* Introduction by Dr. Shuyu Kong, Professor of Global Humanities, SFU

Whenever I look back at my works, it is like going back to a certain moment of that former me. The overlapping of past and present, the collision of time and life intertwined together, can always find traces of survival in the crevices of the works.

I have met many people, come and go in a hurry. Chance encounters result in some works, and final disagreements become strangers again - the fragments of life, the tangle of this and that, the despair and hope in real life, the reproduction of virtual reality, the works fulfil the temporary emptiness of life.

Human beings are the sensing body between heaven and earth. Different environments, regions, and changes in humanities directly affect my artistic creation and state of mind. My curiosity about the world is my courage to go forward. I am a human being; it is impossible for me to be indifferent to everything that happens in this world, no matter it is related or not related to me. What is my focus? This determines my perception of the world and the direction of my works.

I was born to and raised in a family with red genes. The education of my parents and school was socialist and ideological. If the trajectory of my life had not been accidental, I would have been a different person. My life is full of contradictions and conflicts, and the variables that break the established pattern are like a performance art, the result of the interweaving of adventure and chance. Life experience has taught me that the obsession of the here and now is the foundation for the completion of an event or work. But it is the frequent emptying of oneself that enables the soul to touch new possibilities. When the heart is touched, its magic leads me to a certain state. Between mindfulness and mindlessness; between consciousness and unconsciousness; all established assumptions and concepts; instinctive intuitive reactions; misadventures and coincidences often occur in the moment when the incidental meets the unknown.


Xiao Lu (肖鲁) graduated from Central Academy of Fine Arts High School, Beijing and then the Oil Painting Department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Fine Arts) in Hangzhou, China. She lives and works in Beijing and Sydney.

Xiao Lu works with performance, installation and other art forms, but she is most known for her performance. Recent exhibitions and some major past exhibitions: "Framing the Revolution" Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, USA (2023); "China – The Past is Present" National Gallery of VIC, Australia (2022); "Empowerment" Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2022); "20th-Century Galleries Collection 1960s-2000" Art Gallery of NSW, Australia (2022); "Stepping Out! Female Identities in Chinese Contemporary Art" Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Norway (2022); "The Realm of Existence: An exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art" Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing, China (2021); “Democracies” TATE Liverpool, UK (2020); Solo show "Skew" 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong (2019); Solo show "Xiao Lu: Impossible Dialogue” 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia (2019); “1970s - Present” MoMA, New York, USA (2019); “Collection Displays: Performer and Participant” TATE Modern, London, UK (2018); “Her Kind” Zhuzhong Art Museum, Beijing, China (2018); “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2017); “Wen Pulin Archive of Chinese Avant-Garde Art" Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China (2016); "Bald Girls" Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2012); "Image History Existence" National Art Museum, Beijing, China (2011); “New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art” UCCA, Beijing, China (2007); “China/Avant-Garde” National Art Museum, Beijing, China (1989)

Selected collections: Taiking Life, Beijing, China; Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing, China; MoMA, NY, USA; TATE Modern, London, UK; Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia; National Gallery of VIC, Australia; White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

Publication: The novel "Dialogue" (Edition in Chinese and English), and translated from Chinese by Archibald McKenzie. Hong Kong University Press 2010.