Artist:Lu De'an

Address:Renke Artist Center 

Time:28 Jun, 2014 - 28 Aug, 2014

The wind turns towards the corner, like an act of worship in vain. When I was aware that I'm just ‘a conscious existence’, suddenly I found my inauthentic self. It seems that there was a blank space in between, left you with nothing to follow. Such blank space means that I have to rediscover a nature state of mind, and also, the truth, almost like a void, way beyond the causality and intelligence that I have already acquired. This seems to constitute an event: I am dialoguing with the world.”




—— Lu De’an







Born on March 18, 1960

1981 graduated from Fujian Academy of Art & Crafts

Poet and Painter


Literary Background:

In the early 1980s, along with other poets and painters, he founded the Friday Poetry Society and became an important member of the Nanjing poetry society,“They”. During this period, he published several poetry collections, Paper Snake, The Other Half of Life, and The South to the North.  He moved to New York in 1992 and made his living by painting.  He also wrote the long poem, "Mankato".  In 1994, he won the "They" Poetry Prize.  That same year, he built a residence in the mountains of his hometown in Fujian, and wrote the long poem, "Right Where One Belongs".  He also devoted a great deal of time to painting, and participated in Mou Sen's Theater Workshop in Beijing.  He went abroad again in 1998.  During this period he published his poetry collection, Obstinate Stones, and in 2011 he published his collection, Right Where One Belongs.  That same year he won the Yunnan Gaoligong Poetry Prize, and also established Fujian's "Friday Painting Society."  In 2012 he became a poetry moderator of the website, Impact China. He currently resides in Beijing where he devotes his time to painting.


Painting Exhibits:

1986  National Xinhua Bookstore Artists' Painting Exhibit, Beijing Museum of Art

2005  Fujian Abstract Art Exhibit, Fujian Provincial Art Museum

2007  Modernity Without Restraint--Chinese Contemporary Invitational Exhibit, Shanghai Sacred East Gallery

2009  Fujian Contemporary Artists Invitational Exhibit, Fujian Provincial Art Museum

2011  Fuzhou's, "Unperturbed" Exhibit

2011  "Poetry School" Contemporary Chinese Poets Painting Exhibit, Chongqing

2011  "Poetic Tones Painting and Calligraphy" Exhibit, Fujian Provincial Painting Institute

2013  "Summoned Sea" Exhibit, Qingdao

2014  "Thatched Hut Damaged By The West Wind-- Lü De'an's Painting Exhibit," Tree Gallery, Beijing

2014  “Romantic Drop”, Renke Art Gallery, Hangzhou




Silent Knowledge: on Lu Dean’s Painting

Text/Yu Jian


Lu De'an is a quiet artist.


His works runs counter to prevailing trends. In my opinion, contemporary art is corrupting, it has economics in its character, and obsesses with concepts (trademarks?). It is aggressive, exaggerated, noisy, dull, bossy, intent on nothing but profits. Its metaphors for ideology have become fig leafs of the mammonists. Lu De'an's paintings are like a long-vanished autumn, greyish, passive, reclusive, and traceable, “on any surface, scrawl, scramble, paint over, obliterate”, then trampled on by the bare feet of time. It is also a clarion call, summoning those transcendentalists to come and gather in his blank space. Lu De'an is well-versed in western modernism, but still he wants to paint his own inner colors and time.


Such time extends from the present back to the era of Zhu Da (a famous painter of the Ming Dynasty), from the elevators of New York to the seacoast of Fujian. Perhaps some of his rolling waves come from the dusks of the Mawei Island, he spent his childhood in that small town with his father. His experience was quite simple: in his early years, he studied at the Fujian Institute of Art and Crafts, he learnt to paint, and wrote poetry, later on, he moved to the US, wasted days and nights in west of Southern US for several years, he wrote several immortal works during that time. How I love those poems about stones! Eventually he had to make a living, so he joined the ranks of the poor street sketch artists in Manhattan. I still remember how he would ashamedly walk into the subway, pulling along his easel, which is tied to a dirty luggage cart. The depth of the grayness in his painting comes from such experience. He is someone who is melancholy but not sentimental, not depressed. He is passionate about life and the faulty strokes on it. God made it so.


I’ve seen him in the communal kitchen of a cheap apartment building in Flushing, watching the deepening gray at dusk on the opposite window. Another time we were coming home together from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we walked into the apartment building elevator. The elevator had a small barred window through which you could peek out at the different floors. It was about as wide as a prison cell and it had long lost its look of new technology. I was looking at the moss-like rust and the dents left from fistfights, and I said, “This is something you have seen”. It isn’t to boast about some sort of modernist knowledge; rather, it is to say that, as long as he was looking everywhere, the transformed space could enable him to apprehend the depth of time. Why can’t Zhu Da appear in a New York elevator? This elevator is benevolent, it has been tested over time, just like those objects without conscience on the earth. Lu Dean’s artistic spirit is derived from his Chinese hometown. It’s just that he has replaced ink with oil paints. He attempts to use oils to deal with the artistic realm. He’s not merely stopping at abstract forms. His neutralities have other implications, but we cannot apprehend them through the usual themes. Only time will allow us to see them.


Therefore, Lu De'an’s works haven’t entered the mainstream of our era. They have remained in a cold corner, just like his mountain stones, they have been neglected because they need to be viewed patiently. I spent a long time in his painting studio. He was smoking, looking at his painting again, then his striped gray-bellied cats. This is a “silent knowledge”, and only quietness that has passed through noise is silent. It’s true, they could be even more passive and grayish, but how this could occur isn’t related to the thickness of the brush, it is related to the depth of nothingness or a kind of eclipse.


“The wind turns towards the corner, like an act of worship in vain.”

“This poet actually thinks of himself more as a painter.”

—— Lu De'an

No, he is a poet.


Written on Sunday, Jun 8, 2014, in Kunming