Animal Fancy - Cole Lu


June 29 – July 27, 2018


“And life? Life itself? Was it perhaps only an infection, a sickening of matter? Was that which one might call the original procreation of matter only a disease, a growth produced by morbid stimulation of the immaterial?” 

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain(1924)

Cole Lu presents six new works that reformulate folkloric tales and myths of monstrosity, and assert an alternative exile from a queer, autobiographical perspective.

In Western folklore, the monster has often been used to delineate social acceptability. As a result, they have become estranged, dispossessed, misunderstood, and feared – eternally othered. Lu adopts the Beast’s form in her work, both empathizing and identifying with its plight. Confronting her own experiences of destabilization and alienation in her series of bas-relief, Lu sees the body as a home for language, where it lives under the skin in several forms. The reliefs are carefully sculpted and cast into silicone, concrete, metal, aqua resin, fiberglass, and flock. The cast concrete Beast’s head is amputated and illusionistically submerged into the floor. Applied morphology in a visual grammatical sense, like a house breaking into flesh, Lu employs the labor of materials as language—producing, creating, and interpreting them to weld together a consolidated form. Collectively, the work is speculative, and at times satirical, while upholding the popular and conceited Western gaze that summons its operators. It folds an interior space where a fiction lies in the narrative of queerness, illness, and seclusion. 

Cole Lu (b. Taipei) is an artist, curator, and writer based in New York. She was the former assistant director of fort gondo compound for the arts in St. Louis (May 2014- Jan 2017). Her work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum and Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis), the Institute of Contemporary Art and Vox Populi (Philadelphia), The Wrong Biennale(URL & São Paulo), LACE (Los Angeles), I Never Read (Basel), FILE (São Paulo), K-Gold Temporary Gallery (Lesvos), and Trestle Projects (Brooklyn). Her publication Smells Like Content (Endless Editions) is in the artists’ book collection of the MoMA Library (New York). Her recent two-person exhibition “While Removing the Garbage or Paying the Cleaner” opens at American Medium (New York) in May 2018, and her writing will be featured in the CODETTE JOURNAL #3 (June 2018).

PastAlyssa Knowling