Creating a besieged world very unlike his own

Wang Jie
Although Lu Yi's exhibition is titled "Strange Tale from a Besieged Fortress," he is never besieged in his own life.
Wang Jie

Although Lu Yi's exhibition is titled "Strange Tale from a Besieged Fortress," Lu is never besieged in his own life.

Featuring a group of acrylic on canvases and wall paintings, the exhibition runs at MOCA Pavilion through September 26.

Curated by Han Bo, it provides a different visual experience for viewers, because Lu has never received any professional art training.

He tends to conjure up a besieged world in dark and dim hues either through trees or buildings – often a vaguely depicted man riding a zebra or standing alone on a street. There is a kind of depression and melancholy wafting over his canvases.

As opposed to artists trained at a university, Lu says he was trained by words, which fused a narrative power into his painting.

"I've been a bit self-isolated since my childhood, and painting is akin to catharsis," he said. "When I was a little boy, I liked daubing by myself for a long time."

Born in 1973 in Beijing, Lu graduated from Fudan University in 1996 where he majored in journalism.

Unlike his paintings, he didn't choose to bind himself with the usual life cycle: work hard to earn money, then buy an apartment and get married.

Perhaps the best way to satiate a free and wild soul is to go out and travel around the world.

Lu said he has been to nearly 30 countries.

"Believe it or not, I might spend half a year wandering around Europe, and the next half year earning money at an advertising company in Beijing," he said.

Lu has a signature name in his painting – teenager.

"I treasure my childhood memories," he said. "Some fragments today are real yet distant, of course. They are so different from what actually happened in the past. Frankly speaking, I don't know whether I am still a boy inside my heart, but I honestly hope so."

Creating a besieged world very unlike his own

"The Last Night on Earth," acrylic on canvas

Exhibition info

Dates: Through September 26, 10am-9pm

Venue: MOCA Pavilion

Address: 215 Nanjing Road W.

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