Life and art are the same for Lu Zhengyuan. The Chinese artist creates a dialogue between daily consciousness and his work, questioning the accepted beliefs in society. To do so he draws a line in the gap between what’s real and what’s constructed by human’s perspective. Naturally multidisciplinary, Lu uses all means of expression in his power to build this narrative around his work and the result is everything but monochromatic. His pieces are unexpected, concerned and poignant, moving among a direct message and ambiguity. As we talk to him, he unveils a little more about his complex and wholesome universe.
You approach art in many different ways: painting, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, etc. Is it because you focus on the oeuvre itself and listen to its needs, or is it about exploring different fields as an artist?
Yes, I believe today, especially in an ever-developing China, it is difficult to rely on only one medium to express this changing world. I need to use multiple mediums to respond to these changes within society. Most importantly, different themes require different mediums to best express artists’ ideas. Since I am more inclined towards the expressive side of art, I naturally employ different mediums to achieve goals to fully express myself. I do have to actively explore different methods in order to truly express myself, but that’s part of an artist’s mission. Artists, in my opinion, are destined to explore the unknown, and my practice is no exception. 
Many of your works are visually and conceptually intriguing. What response do you expect from the viewer? Is your aim to confuse them or you want to send them a more direct message?
Creating art is not about providing answers but asking questions, inspiring everyone to think about their experiences. For me, visual sense and perception are similar to the relationship between the throat and the voice. Voices cannot exist without throats, and the throat creates sound in order to prove its value and existence.
Your line of work is pretty unalike. On the one hand, when it comes to a whole body of work, it has an aesthetic coherence. But on the other hand, if we look at your different projects, they seem quite disconnected to one another. Why do you think that is?
I believe great artists have to learn to avoid being labeled. Granted, it’s easier to be successful with a label, especially in this ever-changing era. On the surface level, my artworks appear to be created from different mediums and at different times in my career, I explore different themes and focuses. But actually, my mediums are fairly aligned in a larger context. They are all parts of the language I use to digest the current era and society.
“Creating art is not about providing answers but asking questions, inspiring everyone to think about their experiences.”
Sometimes in conceptual art it is difficult to identify what the artist has based their work on. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Artists are inspired at all times; reading, traveling, eating and even sleeping. As long as you accentuate your feelings, you can be inspired at any time. For example, I recreated one dream that I had while sleeping and that recreation turned out to be a six-meter sculpture that was shown at the Shenzhen Biennale exhibition.
Do you have a major concept lying behind your work? Is there something concrete you want to build a narrative around?
One of my most intense themes is the resistance of habits and routine. Most of my works are centered on this topic. I discuss it from different angles to try and tackle the idea of abolishing routine, and I commonly question accepted opinion.
Your project 84 days, 84 works happened some time ago, but still it’s enigmatic how an artist takes on that challenge. Can you tell us about that experience?
84 days is still seen as a crazy project. But I am not trying to express my crazynes. Instead, I am trying to question artists’ creative habits, to challenge the artistic treatment of creating art as part of an on going life process. I aimed to blur the lines between art and life. I make use of external influences to interrupt the current status quo. For example, in 84 days, I created one artwork per day to challenge the notion of the “artist.” Another example is when I employ scenes from dreams to understand reality, or when I invite the viewers to be part of the art – this act dissolves the concepts of the conventional art world.
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