Critics’ Picks

Lu Song, Stay, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 59".

Lu Song, Stay, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 59".


Lu Song

Don Gallery 东画廊
Hall D, 2555 Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai, China
March 18–May 28, 2017

Eleven paintings of tangled roots and palm fronds inaugurate the gallery’s new space in West Bund, Shanghai. This is Lu Song’s heart of darkness. In each of these works secrets and threats are concealed, and in the murky spaces separating bursts of vibrant color and wild foliage, something ominous dwells. Through its scale and rich contrasts of pinks and browns (the play of shadow and light at dusk? the mix of dirt and flesh of an unearthed body?), Oleander Pond, 2016, announces itself as the central painting in the exhibition. Lu’s world is a mangrove swamp or ancient forest––a place that invites and consumes. We walk into this world knowing that it will never let us leave, and even as we ponder we are already mired in quicksand or go missing in the underbrush where death or a thick silence awaits. Stay, 2017, is a final burst of light at nightfall, its leaves tipped with bright filament in blues and silvery purples. Jungle Boy, 2016, is a swirl of leaves seen from below, framed by a dizzying sky, an eclipsing vision of spinning drunkenness or head injury in this sylvan phantasm. The show, titled “Control Point,” draws us deeper and deeper into scenes where control is precisely what we forfeit.