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Luo Yang

Text by Yining He and Luo Yang
Short film and photography by Luo Yang and Hanyu Li
Edited by Jorge M Fontana

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang

Luo Yang is featured in issue #27 of Apartamento magazine, out now! Click here to get your copy!

 

Shanghai: Since 2008, Luo Yang has led her audience into the homes of the many girls who’ve inhabited her personal project of the same title. These rooms, located all across China, have witnessed these girls’ lives, moments of their love and growth. But when we try to distinguish the details of their rooms, we find that Luo has a knack of selectively focusing on her girls, obscuring the interior decorations that become a simple background. After I’ve finished this interview, I realise that Luo, a self-proclaimed minimalist, has already left us clues in these images as to her own life and nature.

Although moving is a common occurrence for young creatives living in Beijing and Shanghai, for many people the meaning of home has become even more complicated following the Covid-19 outbreak. Luo was born in a small city in the province of Liaoning, in Northeast China, but moved to Beijing after the 2008 Olympics and spent her underground youth in this cultural capital. With rising environmental pollution and cultural policy changes, she decamped from Beijing to Shanghai in early 2017 and began her life in this elegant but highly competitive city. After the sudden start of the pandemic though, Luo travelled to Tibet, Yunnan, and Hainan successively, to rethink the relationship between work, life, and ideals. From a childhood spent in the natural countryside of her native province to the days she now spends working in the hustle of the city, Luo’s life experience also reflects the life chances of many creative youths who’ve grown up around the millennium in China. Confident, fearless, and yearning for freedom, home is far from Luo Yang’s focus, but it is the starting point.

⏤Yining He

This selection of images comes from my two series of work, Girls and Youth, both of which focus on the generation of young people born in China during the ’80s and ’90s. As with all my work that’s shot against interiors, the space inhabited by the subject creates a strong sense of intimacy and reveals a lot about the person, as the photos are usually taken in the subjects’ own places, meaning it’s all very familiar. The spaces help them relax, and I like to explore these interiors together with the subjects and use them for my photography. We make some plans before meeting up for the shoot. I’ve always liked the intimacy of interiors, and the intimacy that a space can bring to the model. I try to present their most authentic state and capture real emotional moments with these people, so usually they bring me to their homes or places they like to hang out. My photos are not space-oriented; that part is decided by the people I shoot. 

 

⏤Luo Yang

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Ni Feiya, 2019
Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Ni Feiya, 2019

Ni Feiya has a normal job by day but is a drag queen by night; you could see that from the details in his room. He has outfits and makeup, etc. I met him when I was travelling in Taiwan and this photo was taken in his apartment. He did a little performance at home when we shot and also showed me videos of him and his friends performing drag.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Gelaicuomao, 2017

This photo was taken where she lived at the time. The space was full of her favourite colour and elements from Tibet (where she’s from) that matched with her clothing. We were chatting and she just sat there, very relaxed. I liked that moment. I met Gelaicuomao when I travelled across China back in 2017; at the time she was living in Qinghai and working as an English teacher. But she was also studying design and wanted to go to a big city to become a designer one day.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Onying and Jason, 2019
Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Onying, 2019

An interesting couple from Hong Kong; exploring their apartment was a fun experience. I met them when I was touring there in 2019, as they’re friends of friends. In Hong Kong there are lots of old buildings, tall and narrow spaces.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Chen Xi, 2018

She’s a model that I know from work. The photo was taken in Shanghai, and the piece is from my Girls series. We’ve also worked together on other projects.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Lukaz, 2019

This photo was taken in Shanghai in Lukaz’s apartment in 2019. He strikes people as a bad-boy type at first, but when you talk to him you find that he’s actually a very gentle, shy person, who also keeps a cat of his own.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Princess Butterfly, 2019

‘Princess Butterfly’ is an art student; she’s turned herself into a living art project by becoming the embodiment of the flashy aesthetics of the Chinese countryside in the ’90s. And her room is exactly like that too! I thought she was a really interesting person when I read about her online, and I met her in person in Taiwan in 2019. She’s mocking materialism and vulgar aesthetics and has turned it into a bizarre fashion. And she captures it with great accuracy! So, as well as her own person, her living space and all the objects in the photo are part of Princess Butterfly’s expression.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Sai, 2019

Sai’s an art student, and the photo was taken in her college dormitory in Shanghai in 2019 for my Youth project. She was introduced by a friend.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
Zhang Ao, 2019

Zhang Ao is a designer/stylist. The photo was taken in his Shanghai apartment in 2019.

Apartamento Magazine - Luo Yang
issue 27, photography
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