Friday, 9 April 2010

Lu Chunsheng’s machine horror

The latest works exhibited in the Rivington Place in London consist of a curious piece by the Chinese contemporary artist Lu Chunsheng, who brought the film “The first man who bought a juicer bought it not for drinking juice” for the first time to Europe since it was produced in 2008.

Set on the farmland in Texas, there is nothing distinctively Chinese about this short film. It tells the story about a combine harvester from ‘birth’ to ‘work’ under the constant care of a mad-looking mechanic in a way that is both realistic and theatrical. Lu experimented with different sets of background noise and music to construct the phases of the ‘story’ and set the tunes of the scenes. The long-take footage of the machine components being assembled, tested and ran is set in sharp contrast to the surrounding crop field, the nearby road kills and most of all, the human hands and body. This inevitably points to the industrial and technology domination of modern life and the ‘enslavement’ of humans and nature as a result.


The combine harvester is the new Frankenstein in Lu’s vision. Modern technology and machinery not only unify our thoughts and movements, but also alienate ourselves from each other and grow to be the master that we all serve.

Lu, originally trained as a sculptor now lives and works in Shanghai. His past exhibitions include China Power Station: Part 1 (2006) at the Serpentine Gallery and various group exhibitions in Germany, the US and China.
The exhibition Counterpoints by Iniva at Rivington Place is on from 31 March to 15 May 2010. More info found here 

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