Anime, Animation, Avatars: Lu Yang is the “Artist of the Year” 2022

The Chinese artist Lu Yang is Deutsche Bank's “Artist of the Year” 2022. Lu Yang was born in 1985 in Shanghai, where he lives and works today. Lu Yang is one of the most internationally influential Chinese multimedia artists. As the “Artist of the Year,” he will be showing his first major solo exhibition in Germany at Deutsche Bank’s PalaisPopulaire in Berlin in the fall of 2022.

Lu Yang’s artistic production includes 3D animated films, video game installations, holograms, graphic works, and virtual reality projects. Lu Yang’s immersive installations merge the worlds of anime, manga, and science fiction with neuroscience, biotechnology, and Buddhist thought. Dance is a central element in his work. As in Welcome to LuYang Hell (2017) and Encephalon Heaven (2017), he radically challenges conventional, binary thinking.

This includes notions of “good" and “evil” as well as the categorizations “I” and “you” or “natural” and “artificial.” Lu Yang’s works postulate a new concept of reality that is radically changed by virtualization: “In Buddhism, there’s the idea that nothing is real, whether it’s in the digital or physical world. You can’t touch it; it’s like a bubble or a dream. Based on this concept, I don’t think digital worlds are fake. They’re real.”

For Lu Yang, VR is not a setting for fantastic escapes, but a contemporary field of experimentation that we can use to expand our identity, our perception, and detach ourselves from a rigid ego concept. The artist, who does not want to be assigned to any particular gender, works with various gender-neutral avatars that experience different worlds and states.

Lu Yang’s latest digital avatar Doku will play a central role in the upcoming Berlin exhibition. Through the use of current 3D scanning and modeling technologies, Lu Yang’s facial features are set on a slender, androgynous body. The project continues Lu Yang’s extensive interdisciplinary collaborations with musicians, scientists, designers, and dancers.

Lu Yang represents a young generation in Asian art for whom it is no contradiction to combine myths, ancient traditions, and spiritual thinking with the latest technology and science. We are particularly pleased to honor Lu Yang in 2022, coinciding with Deutsche Bank’s 150th anniversary in Asia,” said Anna Herrhausen, the head of Deutsche Bank’s Art and Culture department.

The “Artist of the Year” award is presented on the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council, consisting of the renowned curators Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn. The award goes to promising talents who have created an oeuvre that is artistically and socially relevant integrating the two focal points of the Deutsche Bank Collection, works on paper and photography.

As of December 4, 2021, works by Lu Yang will be on view in a large solo show at AroS, Aarhus. In 2019, he was represented in Micro Era, a group exhibition on Chinese media art, shown at the Berlin Kulturforum.