13 November 2007 - 17 February 2008

A V&A and Crafts Council exhibition

Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft

Lu Shengzhong 'Little Red Figure' (detail), cut paper, Courtesy of Chambers Fine Art

Lu Shengzhong

'The material is not important. What is more important is the process you use to create that material. This is more valuable to me.'

Lu Shengzhong is a professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. While studying art in the 1980s he became interested in how ancient crafts such as paper cutting are integrated into everyday life in rural China.

His installations feature thousands of repeated figures, all meticulously hand-cut with scissors and scalpels from red tissue paper. Red symbolises good luck in China, and this type of paper is commonly used in celebrations such as weddings and New Year. By cutting each small figure by hand, Lu Shengzhong makes each one slightly different, unique. This manual process enables him to use both the positive and the negative paper cut-outs in the work.

'I use paper to cut this little red figure to demonstrate the delicate fragility of human beings. Ephemeral. A human's life is shorter than a paper's thickness. The material is not important. What is more important is the process you use to create that material. This is more valuable to me.'