::Diana Lui / Biographie::
Artist, Photographer, Filmmaker
Diana Lui’s interest in diverse art forms is due to her early training and exposure in the arts in Malaysia ranging from Chinese ink painting and drawing to the performance arts such as ballet, modern dance and piano. Her formative years in the fine arts in UCLA (University California Los Angeles) were influenced by committed teachers who were prominent artists of the 1960’s Post-Modernist period such as Robert Heinecken and Jan Stüssy. In UCLA, Lui experimented with multiple art forms such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpting and photography. She later transferred to the world-renowned college for avant-garde design and visual art forms, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Photography and Fine Arts. Her graduation project combined both photographic and old noble printing processes such as photogravure and platinum/palladium printing to reach subtle nuances in her black and white portraits. Lui was successful with her printing research thanks to the privileged guidance of Los Angeles renowned master printmaker and teacher Anthony Zepeda, Rauschenberg’s former printer.
Based now in Paris for more than 13 years, Lui worked actively the first 6 years as a freelance portrait and fashion photographer for the French and international press. While working for the press, Lui continued to create and exhibit her art work and has since 2003 devoted her full attention and time to her artistic projects. Though photography has predominated her work, her recent projects have evolved into new themes that push the limits of photography by combining installation, performance, experimental short films, painting and drawing. Lui’s transient life between three different continents has developed in her a heightened sense of “rootlessness”, loss of origins and traditional values. This “rootlessness” has become the center from which her art and research has taken shape. She has exhibited her photographs and art work in solo and group exhibits and won several awards in the USA, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Belgium, Paris (France), Germany, Italy, Estonia, London, Morocco, Mexico, and Venezuela.
One of Lui’s ongoing and lifelong projects (which began 20 years ago) is carrying her large 8x10 view camera all over the world to document, what she calls "intimate/psychological/anthropological" portraits of people she encounters during her travels. Lui’s silent portraits show the existential urgency of each individual’s existence through the space or objects surrounding him/her, the intrinsic gestures and physical positioning of the individual within his/her environment. With this growing series, she has won several awards including France’s 20th Bourse du Talent (Young Talent Award for Photography) and the Kodak Critics’ Award, Belgium’s Prix National de la Photographie Ouverte du Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi and was in 2008 a finalist for the Prix de la Fondation HSBC pour la Photographie. Lui’s art projects also include social therapy projects where her experience as an artist and educator is essential to a particular social or educational institution. These social projects have taken her to countries like East Germany, Estonia and the US. In Estonia, she collaborated with Merimetsa rehabilitation center, Göteborg University of Sweden and the French Institute of Tallinn and conducted photography workshops and exhibitions for the center's mental patients. In New York City Lui collaborated with students from the School of Visual Arts MFA Design as Author program. For their first year project, the students worked with Allan Chochinov, a New York-based designer and educator, on re-designing the prosthetic arm. With her 8x10 view camera, Lui photographed the students "wearing" and demonstrating their prototypes, hence deepening their experience of using creative design to bring about positive changes in society. Lui’s art work is collected by private collectors, museums and art institutions worldwide.