Infinite Balance: Yao Lu's Landscape Series

“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” -- Chinese Proverb

This quote frames an extraordinary series of work by Yao Lu, one of the artists showcased in Infinite Balace: Artists and the Environment, one of the current exhibitions now on view at MOPA.

Lu skillfully addresses the issues of global sustainability and the current state of our environment.  His series of work depict mounds of garbage covered in green protective nets which are assembled and reworked by computer to create bucolic images of mountain landscapes shrouded in the mist.  Quite exquisitely, the images are inspired by traditional Chinese paintings and are as harmonious in beauty as they are jarring in content. Lying somewhere between painting and photography, between the past and the present, Yao Lu's work speaks of the radical mutations affecting nature in China as is it subjected to rampant urbanization and the ecological threats that endanger the environment.

In his artist statement, Yao Lu describes his process,

“Generally speaking, my works use the form of traditional Chinese painting to express the face of China. Today China is developing dramatically and many things are under constant construction. Meanwhile many things have disappeared and continue to disappear.  I want the world to be able to make a benign transformation. People must protect the environment.
 
This work implies that the world should become more and more harmonious. Photography can be understood in traditional ways: It can 'record' many histories long before our own time, and it can take people back to times and situations many years ago. But photography is also very contemporary. It can re-assemble and re-edit the things that we actually see in order to produce illusions that people see when they are in front of such photographic works. In these works, you see images that are both real and fictional.”

As profound as this imagery is, one is compelled to encourage and share the message of Lu’s series of work.  Along with the entire collection of artists showcased in Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment, there is a pervasive message, very eagerly nudging the viewer to engage and perceive the voice of the collection.  It is a message that resonates through generation and culture.

This amazing exhibition showcases the works of various artists shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, the world's top prize for photography and sustainability. The goal is to uncover art of the highest order, applied to confront the pressing social and environmental challenges of the new millenium.  

Be captivated by this collection of images; visit MOPA through February 5, 2012 to view Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment