Gravity-defying sculptures by Zheng Lu (b. 1978, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia) are installed in public spaces around the world, including a monumental work at the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing. Most recently, the gallery placed a twenty-foot-tall sculpture adjacent to the United Nations in New York. Pulsing with movement, they evoke splashes of water in mid-air. They are technically astonishing; their fluid, animated forms are charged with the energy (qi) of the universe, belying their steel composite. Many are deeply influenced by his study of traditional Chinese philosophy, and often calligraphy, an art form he practiced growing up in a literary family. Zheng Lu is known for using language as a pictorial element, composing the surface of stainless-steel sculptures out of thousands of Chinese characters derived from texts and poems of historical significance.
With recent work, the Beijing-based artist continues to explore water, long a subject of fascination. Early Chinese philosophers used physical principles of the natural world to better understand the mysteries of the cosmos and the nature of man. Water, a shapeless medium that can be potent or supple, dynamic or latent, can take on abundant meaning and serve as a tangible model embedded with ideas. For Zheng, it is not only an element essential to existence, but a substance symbolic of change, self-reflection and the passage of time.
Zheng Lu graduated from Lu Xun Fine Art Academy, Shenyang, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture in 2003. In 2007, he completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, while also attending an advanced study program at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris.
The artist has participated in numerous museum exhibitions in China and abroad, including at the National Museum of China, Beijing; Long Museum, Shanghai, and Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art; Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem; Musée Océanographique, Monaco; and Musée Maillol, Paris. In 2015, the artist’s work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, one of the leading institutions in the region. In 2023, his work was featured at Asia Society Texas in Houston in the exhibition Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions.