Combining early Chinese aesthetic rendering with art processes from historical and modern Western sources, Lu Chao is a painter of exquisite metaphysical narratives. At the core of his technique is black ink painting, a way for him to delicately render forms in muted monochromes as the basis for illusory landscapes of Renaissance inspired classical scenes, ruins and architectural structures accentuated with tropes from 20th century western movements, especially surrealism. Eastern and western philosophy commingle in his exploration of the imaginary, imbuing his paintings with a language of elegant incongruity. At the heart of his work is the repeated motif of crowds, depicting multiple human figures or faces arranged in curious disembodied situations, anchoring fears around extreme surveillance in our ever-encroaching Digital Age. Intricately conveying urban existence in contemporary China, Lu Chao presents the very real problems of individualism in an acutely ordered and densely populated society. Opportunity for escapism is a remote reality for many individuals and the suggested powerlessness felt by many in conforming anonymously to survive is key to his oeuvre. There is also subtle humor at play in the figures, however, as each work portrays contradiction and lightness with sangfroid.


Lu Chao, born in 1988, Shenyang, China, is a graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing and the Royal College of Art, London. He lives and works in London. His works have been widely exhibited in galleries and institutions in China and abroad, including Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris, MOCA Shanghai, Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu and the Today Art Museum Beijing. He is represented by HdM Gallery, Beijing/ London.