BMW Art Journey: Shanghai-Based Artist Lu Yang Wins The Newest Season !

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Lu Yang’s BMW Art Journey discusses how the human body can be trained to overcome its physical limitations.


Shanghai-based artist Lu Yang has emerged as the winner of the next BMW Art Journey after an international jury selected her from among a pool of three shortlisted artists from around the world. The works of these contestants were exhibited in the Discoveries Sector of this year’s Art Basel Show in Hong Kong. Lu Yang is represented by the gallery Société in Berlin.

Lu Yang’s BMW Art Journey “Human Machine Reverse Motion Capture Project” deals with the various ways human body can be trained to overcome its physical limitations. Exploring the deployment of the human body in historical and present day cultures by looking at traditional and contemporary dance forms of Indonesia, India and Japan, Lu Yang employs sophisticated motion capture devices and new age digital technologies to record the dancer’s gestures. These are then analysed in detail and mimicked using robotic technologies.

Various dance forms from around the world like the Balinese ‘Legong’, Indian ‘Kathakali’ and Japanese pop dances were taken into study for this purpose. Thus Lu Yang bonds the traditional and modern cultural forms using modern day technologies. This also is representative of the way we negotiate our evolving relationship with machines, potent enough to surpass the human limitations over time.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to start a project that I’ve always wanted to do. The BMW Art Journey gives a great starting point for long-term research projects. This is not just an art journey. It will be a wonderful start for me to open a new chapter of my creation. I am very much looking forward to this future collaboration and the art-making after this journey. I would also like to thank the gallery Société in Berlin for fully supporting me”, says Lu Yang

The highly esteemed jury for the show comprised of dignitaries like Claire Hsu, Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, Director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Philip Tinari, Director Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing; and Samson Young, artist and winner of the first BMW Art Journey.

“What we found exciting about Lu Yang’s proposal and work,” the jury noted in its statement, “is the way she draws connections across time, space, and geography – traversing different realms – from Kathakali and Legong dance to Japanese pop with our potential future robotic selves. She demonstrates that humanity’s search for an answer to why we are here is continuous – it just takes different forms. We appreciated the idea that the vocabulary within the database used for robotic human expressions would be expanded to include the expressions found in multiple traditions – a much needed expansion of reference points in today’s world.”

The BMW Art Journey had had its first session back in 2015, as the result of a healthy collaboration with Art Basel. Six more seasons of the same followed over time and BMW still cherishes its long grown partnership with Art Basel, with due warmth.

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