Lu Zhirong

Lu Zhirong
(a.k.a.Rong Rong)
b.1968, Zhangzhou, Fujian
Despite an early interest in painting, Lu Zhirong quickly pursued the photographic medium as his form of artistic expression. After several failed attempts at enrolling in art school and a series of odd jobs, including a position as a passport photographer, in 1993 Rong moved to Dongcun (East Village), a budding artistic community on the outskirts of Beijing. It was shortly after this move that Lu Zhirong changed his name and has since been known as Rong Rong. He documented the vibrant, experimental artistic activities of this art-community in his series Artists in Exile. Some of his best-known works are documents of performances by the artists Zhang Huan and Ma Liuming. In 1995, after several artists were arrested and quarrels erupted over copyright issues of Rong’s photography, he left the community. The documentary photographs of East Village were featured in Rong’s inaugural photography exhibition, ‘The Witness of Contemporary Art in China’, at the Tokyo Gallery, Japan (1995).
In 1996, Rong established RR Photo Studio. Shocked by the programmatic destruction of Beijing’s historical hutong (alleyways) and courtyard homes, Rong created a series of untitled works sometimes referred to as the Ruins series. Like his previous work, Ruins is a personal response to Rong’s living environment, featuring partially destroyed homes bearing haunting evidence of past inhabitants. This is often achieved through rephotographing photographs and posters left behind among the rubble. Rong held a solo exhibition at the French Embassy in Beijing in 1997 and at the Galerie H.S.Steinek in Vienna in 1998. His photographs were also included in ‘Contemporary Photo Art from the People’s Republic of China’ (Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin and other venues in Germany).
Pollack, Barbara (2004). ‘Chinese Photography: Beyond Stereotypes’. Artnews 103.2 (February): 98–103.
Schmid, Andreas (1997). Zeitgenössische Fotokunst aus der Volksrepublic China. Heidelberg: Edition Braus, 66–9.
Wu, Hung (1999). Transience—Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
——(2002). ‘Ruins as Autobiography: Chinese Photographer Rong Rong’. Persimmon 2.3 (Winter): 36–47.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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