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Lu Chunsheng often crosses the boundaries between documentary and fiction in video works such as Before the Appearance of the First Steam Engine (2003). His photographs and videos are strongly influenced by his surroundings and document human behaviour where the characters depicted find themselves in unquestionably unusual situations. There is a surrealist attitude to many of his videos involving performers who act out the scenarios in basic costume with no dialogue; the sets are chosen for their symbolic or evocative importance rather than their actual historical relevance.

Experience his work through an excerpt from his film The first man who bought a juicer bought it not for drinking juice, 2008, an archive interview with the artist and discover how an aerobics class at the University of Limerick responded to this work with artist Sean Taylor.

Lu Chunsheng is represented in the IMMA Collection with his film work Before the Appearance of the First Steam Engine, 2003. Explore a selection of imagery from this work below.

About the Artist

Lu Chunsheng was born in 1968 in Changchun, Jilin province. He has had solo exhibitions at The Red Mansion Foundation, London, England (2008); Paradise Theatre, BizArt Art Center, Shanghai, China (2006); and Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, The Central Academy of Arts, Beijing, China (2006). His work has been included in many group exhibitions, including (I’m Always Touched) By Your Presence, Dear, IMMA (2007-2008), the 37th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2008); The 10th International Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2007); The 27th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2006); Masculinities, NBK, Berlin, Germany (2005); Le Moine et le demon, Lyon Contemporary Art Museum, France (2004); and China Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2004). Currently works and lives in Shanghai.

Lu Chunsheng, An excerpt from
The first man who bought a juicer
bought it not for drinking juice

As part of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, a programme of international artist moving image, CIRCA Contemporary Art Projects presented Lu Chunsheng's 'The first man who bought a juicer bought it not for drinking juice', 2008. The work was produced during a residency at Artpace, San Antonio, organised by Hans Ulrich Obrist. The film showed at Rivington Place gallery in London from 31 March until 15 May 2010. Duration: 2min.55sec. Visit for more details.

Interview with Lu Chunsheng

Watch an interview with Lu Chunsheng featuring his work, 'The first man who bought a juicer bought it not for drinking juice', 2008. This interview was conducted by Biljana Ciric, Camera by Gao Mingyan, Translation by Wu Chenyun. A collaboration between Yishu and KADIST. Produced by KADIST 2017.

STEPS Project

In 2009 artist Sean Taylor undertook a series of creative workshops based on introducing members of the UL Aerobics Class to contemporary film works from the IMMA Collection during their one-hour workout. The videos, including Lu Chunsheng’s Before the Appearance of the First Steam Engine, were screened during the class to instigate and stimulate discussion about contemporary art practices with the group. The result of this relationship was, THE STEPS, a collaborative sound/performance artwork. The artwork was based on the vocal/whistling instructions of the aerobics instructor, coupled with aerobic and fitness-based patterns/movements. The finished artwork was located within the existing workout routine and became a permanent feature of the group’s workout.