LUO Yang (1984) was born and raised in Liaoning Province, China. She is a graduate of the prestigious Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang.

A graphic designer by education, she decided to pursue her interest and talent in photography instead. Today, she lives and works in Beijing & Shanghai as a freelance photographer. In 2012, Ai Weiwei designated her one of the “rising stars of Chinese photography” (New Statesman).

She has had exhibitions all over China and participated in major shows in Europe, amongst them Ai Weiwei’s “FUCK OFF 2” at the Groninger Museum, Netherlands, in 2013. In her work, highly staged portraits and carefully constructed poses alternate with a raw, blurred snapshot-aesthetic.

Why did you choose GIRLS as the main Subject of your artwork?

I think it comes from my own life experience. Their real life is attracting me. I can feel that they have the same questions and feelings as I do; I can see their fragilities and confusions. Same emotions, different stories. Girls have attracted me ever since I first picked up a camera. Shooting their life is just like shooting my own.

Luo Yang - Girls

(c) Luo Yang / Courtesy of MO-Industries.com

Who are the GIRLS? Where did you meet them?

Some of them are my friends, some are friends of friends, some are just strangers, or girls I got to know from the internet. They have different occupations, but most of them are doing the things they like. The girls in my pictures change as my life changes, too. Some of the earliest girls I photographed in my hometown in North-Eastern China. They were my friends during my time at university. Then I went to Beijing and started to shoot Beijing-girls and then also girls from Shanghai. It depends on where I am. I like to shoot girls from different
places and backgrounds, but they all have common character traits.

Luo Yang - Girls

(c) Luo Yang / Courtesy of MO-Industries.com

How does a shooting take place, how do you approach the GIRLS?

Every shooting is very natural, we chitchat, go to their places, play and relax together. Actually, what I am trying to do is to observe and understand, to approach them in a very natural way. The shooting times are very different. With some of them, I can catch real moments in just one shooting, while with others I need a few times.

Luo Yang - Girls

(c) Luo Yang / Courtesy of MO-Industries.com

How do you choose a specific surrounding or setting, like a highway, a girl’s apartment or even her closet?

We choose random places together. Mostly, we go to places or spaces that they like and that make them feel relaxed. Pi Pi, for example, suggested this abandoned highway. She and her friends often go there for fun. It is interesting to have such a strong comparison between publicity and privacy.

Interview with Luo Yang

(c) Luo Yang / Courtesy of MO-Industries.com

Your portraits seem Bold and Up-front but also very Personal and Private. How are the GIRLS related to your own world and your own view on life?

The girls in my pictures are not very much related to my own personal life, but we kind of have a spiritual connection. From the first time I met them, I felt things inside their heart. Some of them have a very different life from mine. I feel that they are braver than I am; they are doing things that I don’t have the courage to do. By shooting them, I understood their life better and it made my own world bigger and wider. We might have different values and worldviews, but what we have in common are a fragility and braveness inside of us. We face the world with our sincerity.

Luo Yang - Girls

To our Western eyes, the portraits are powerful manifestations of independence and individualism. Do you feel that they also represent a new or different generation of women in China? Do you feel that the role of women in Chinese society is evolving and in what ways?

I can’t say that they represent the whole new generation of women in China, but they are absolutely a group of women who represent independence and freedom and who are ahead of their age. Yes, the role of women is evolving: they are chasing their dreams in their own way, without bonds, to achieve their ideal life step by step. I believe they will reach their dreams finally.

Luo Yang - Girls

Are there other artists who inspire your work?

I like female artists like Marina Abramovic, Ana Mendieta, Eija Liisa Ahtila, Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle. The emotions and stories in their artworks attract me. But I also draw inspiration from movies, fashion and design.

Luo Yang - Girls

(c) Luo Yang / Courtesy of MO-Industries.com

Do you have a favorite image in the GIRLS series? Which one and why?

I like the image of the couple with tattoos. I knew the girl before I took the picture. She is bold, free and straightforward. When I went to shoot her and her husband, I got a new understanding of them. I felt the love between two free people who both have a strong personality. I also saw the changes they made for each other’s love. It’s touching. I can only think about two words to describe what this image stands for —freedom and
love.

Luo Yang - Girls

(c) Luo Yang / Courtesy of MO-Industries.com

Will you continue with the series and how do you think it will evolve? What are your future objectives?

Sure, I will continue. I think it will evolve as my life changes, too. Women will always be my main subject. Maybe I will also work with video and film in the future. I hope I can help to provide assistance to women, to give some emotional and mental support. I would like to found an NGO [non-governmental organization] in the future. I need to figure out how to do this. This is my main interest at the moment.

MO-šINDUSTRIES
www.mo-industries.com

MO-Industries is a POP-UP art gallery project that is based in Shanghai and Berlin. It was founded in 2014 to foster cultural exchange between China and Germany. In 2015 and 2016, Singapore and Hong Kong were added to the portfolio. Committed to introducing contemporary art from Asia to Germany and vice versa, we shed light on cultural traits and peculiarities. MO-Industries is a POP-UP art gallery project that is based in Shanghai and Berlin. It was founded in 2014 to foster cultural exchange between China and Germany. In 2015 and 2016, Singapore and Hong Kong were added to the portfolio. Committed to introducing contemporary art from Asia to Germany and vice versa, we shed light on cultural traits and peculiarities.