In-between Perpetuity 无始无终 Junyi Lu 卢君意
Junyi Lu is an artist born in 1996 in Guangzhou, China. She received a BFA degree with honors at Maryland Institute College of Art in 2018. Her practice specializes in paintings with varied mediums in order to create absurd scenes evoking subtle responses, which conveys a philosophical view on one’s existence in the universe, in relation to both the society and nature.
“ I suddenly realized that it is at the same place one is born and dies. A person is a mass of gas coming out of the ground. Where a person comes out to life will be one’s grave after death. ——Jia Pingwa
Junyi Lu’s first solo exhibition presented at Untitled Space in Shanghai continues her study of a macroscopic metaphysical dimension of reality. Like the Chinese idiom of “having a beginning and an end”, it is often expected for things to have a start point and an endpoint. Yet, while we all live in the moment, both the beginning that lies in the past and the end that lies in the future are merely inaccessible artificial ideas with no way to trace back or forward. Contrary to Confucianism that is widely accepted in Chinese society indicating one’s lifetime as the process of a linear upgrade, the artist sees the world as a unity, within which all creatures fall into their reincarnation cycles. For us, the cells within the unity, at any endpoint we set for ourselves will become another start point once we reach it. We are forever the perpetuities in between a non-existent beginning and end.
Instead of a representation of the corporeality, Lu seeks to provide another view closer to core beings under the surface, which focuses on humans’ in-laid energies. When people are regarded as temporary stages of the continuously transforming process in their reincarnation cycles, elements such as gender, race, and social status become less significant. Therefore, figures in her paintings often have ambiguous gender and minimal body features. In addition, coming from an illustration background which demands a more effective visual communication, Lu set these figures in fictional scenes where components are attached with symbolic meanings to create narratives. The contrast between the bulky figure and the carefully-designed environment is meant to deliver a subtle atmosphere with a sense of humor, for it is to the artist’s realization that sometimes the serious moments in life simultaneously have an ironically comical quality.
For elusive emotional responses, the delicacy of paints becomes essential. In this body of works, Lu manipulates various materials and mediums to create multiple layers within objects and nuance in space. In her methodical working process, all decisions include the choice of medium, the texture and thinness of layers of paint and color relation are results of meticulous sketches and careful consideration. The juxtaposition of the absurd imagery and its fragility is designed to leave dumbfounded humor to the audience.