Presented earlier this year at HdM GALLERY in London, Lu Chao’s “Black Dots” was the artist’s sixth installation in a series of exhibitions exploring the color black. Inspired by a book of Chinese landscape paintings created using only black ink, Chao made the works on view employing the same color palette, continuing his exploration of identity and the unknown by looking at mass society in comparison with the individual.
Chao approaches his practice as both a painter and a sociologist, fascinated with Western and Chinese philosophies, and uses his work as an ongoing study of the human condition. The artist’s paintings are composed of mass groupings of tiny human characters, which he’s used to create larger structures—like the oil on canvas painting Black Dots, which depicts a sea of minuscule faces coming together to form an enormous crater.
Inspired by newspapers and magazines, as well as his own personal experiences, Chao first created sketches, later transcribing the faces to a canvas in a process he describes as “imagining the story behind every face.”
In Chao’s artworks, there are also underlying implications to an array of unidentified characters they contain—like the artist’s childhood in a densely-populated urban China; a reminder of the smallness of each human in comparison to society as a whole, which we saw highlighted in pieces like Life collection no.3, (inspired by a view of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona), as well as a small painting that deviated from the show’s black theme, entitled Laboratory no.6.