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MIES CAPSULE 1: Lu Yang x Rudolf Belling

23.05.2023 to 18.06.2023
Neue Nationalgalerie

With MIES CAPSULE the Neue Nationalgalerie presents a new exhibition series in the upper hall of the Mies van der Rohe building: In the wooden cloakroom, small exhibitions on current discussions and thoughts are now regularly implemented in order to participate in socially relevant topics in a timely manner and set in dialogue with history and the collection. The first show presents works by Lu Yang and Rudolf Belling.

The question of what it means to be human is omnipresent today. In an age, in which technical progress seems to be an illusion of world improvement, futurism and utopia turn into a pre-eminent catastrophe, Lu Yang's video installation Digital Alaya (2022) and Rudolf Belling's sculpture Organische Formen (Schreitender Mann) (1921) reflect the relationship between man-technology-machine in a direct dialogue.

Video installation Digital Alaya by Lu Yang

Lu Yang’s (1984, Shanghai) 3D animations and installations use strategies from science, religion, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, games, pop culture and music to highlight the biological and material determinants that explore the question of what it means to be human, artificial or natural in the 21st century. In doing so, Lu Yang opens up fundamental questions about the relationships between the body and consciousness, spirituality and science, technology and the limits of being human.

Lu Yang introduces their own body into many of their works, subjecting this proxy to myriad experiments that seem to perpetually stage the multiplication, disintegration, or dissection of the body. The character DOKU is a digital shell, a virtual human named after the phrase “Dokusho Dokushi,” meaning “We are born alone, and we die alone.” Lu Yang has been working on the digital assets for this non-binary avatar for over two years and considers the character a reincarnation of themselves into a digital parallel universe.

Sculpture Organische Formen (Schreitender Mann) by Rudolf Belling

Rudolf Belling (1886, Berlin – 1972, Krailling) is one of the most important sculptors of classical modernism, who initiated the breakthrough for abstract and constructivist sculptural design. A new exploration of the mass-space-relationship in sculpture was a leitmotif in Belling's work, which is clearly expressed in the work Organic Forms (Striding Man). His concern, to integrate space into corporeality emerges through the tense interplay of organic round forms contrasted with abstracted body parts, such as the hands shaped into grasping tools or the cylindrical phallus. The ascending spiral movement of the figure, whose upper body results in a strong lateral rotation, supports a dynamic moment in the sculpture and appears futuristic. By silvering the bronze, Belling creates associations with modern robot figures that reflect the theme of human mechanization present at the time.

About Lu Yang

Lu Yang (1984, Shanghai) lives and works in Shanghai and Tokyo and was selected Artist of the Year 2022 by Deutsche Bank. Lu Yang´s work is currently exhibited in a solo shows at venues including Kunsthalle Basel and at Oi! Street Art Space in Hong Kong. Lu Yang has been the subject of solo exhibitions at international institutions such as Palais Populaire, Berlin; M Woods, Beijing; MOCA Cleveland; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Kunstpalais Erlangen. Lu Yang has participated in group exhibitions at The Milk of Dreams at Biennale di Venezia; CCA Tel Aviv; ICA, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin and Fridericianum, Kassel.

About Rudolf Belling

Rudolf Belling (1886, Berlin – 1972, Krailling) began his education in 1905 as a modeller for decorative arts and sculpture. From 1909 he received commissions as a theater decorator for the Reinhardt stage. Between 1910 and 1915 he studied with Peter Breuer at the Berlin-Charlot-tenburg Art Academy before becoming a member of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst and co-founder of the Novembergruppe in 1918. Various exhibitions followed in Germany, in 1924 he had the first solo exhibition in the National Gallery in Berlin. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, his works were removed from public collections. In 1937 he emigrated to Turkey, where, through Hans Poelzig, he became head of the sculpture department at the Istanbul Art Academy. In 1955 he was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He returned to Germany in 1966 and lived in Krailling near Munich until his death in 1972.


MIES CAPSULE 1 is curated by Klaus Biesenbach, Director, Joachim Jäger, Deputy Director and Lisa Botti, Assistant Curator, Neue Nationalgalerie. The series will continue with changing artists and curators.

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