Lu Yang's brilliant multimedia work explores sexuality and mortality through kitsch and Manga references

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic Brainology, screenshot courtesy of the artist

What’s not to love about Lu Yang’s work? It’s like everything your little brother liked in the '90s leapt up and slapped you in the face, in a very good way indeed.

The Shanghai-born multimedia artist creates works that explore big, big topics, such as neuroscience, sexuality, mortality and religion; through playful lenses, often expressing her ideas with a little help from Japanese manga and anime references.

Although Lu’s production methods and media celebrate new technologies, spanning 3D-animated films, video game-like installations, holograms, neon, VR and even software manipulation; her execution delights in celebrating the “crude, the kitsch and the ugly aspects of online culture,” as Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CCCA), which is currently hosting a group show including Lu’s work, puts it.

The gallery adds: "She subjects traditional art historical tropes like the self-portrait to digitally grotesque metamorphoses, creating powerfully ambivalent metaphors which serve as cyphers of resistance against the traditional limitations of gender, feminism, race, science and politics."

Lu’s work is being shown as part of the current CCCA exhibition, entitled Chinternet Ugly, which brings together other young artists engaging with the Chinese internet.

“China is home to 802 million Internet users, 431 million micro-bloggers, 788 million Internet mobile phone users, and four of the top ten Internet companies in the world,” says the CCCA.

"This vast user base, combined with a handful of online platforms and e-commerce giants including WeChat, Tencent and Alibaba, results in cultural currents that flow at a blinding pace – spreading and evolving far more rapidly than on the ‘global’ web and creating a distinct internet culture – the ‘Chinternet’. ‘Chinternet Ugly’ highlights the significant role that visual imagery plays within China’s online sphere as a site for cultural and political negotiation, critique and play.

"It traces the unruly topography of China’s online realm, its technicolour landscape of viral media, gyrating GIFs, satirical memes, mass infotainment, and copy and paste aesthetics."

The show at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CCCA) runs until 12 May.

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic brainology, courtesy of the artist

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic brainology, courtesy of the artist

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic brainology, poster courtesy of the artist

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic brainology, poster courtesy of the artist

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic Brainology CFCCA preview. Photograph by Joe Smith

Lu Yang, Electromagnetic Brainology CFCCA preview. Photograph by Joe Smith