“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)
Animal Fancy is a solo exhibition by Cole Lu. In this exhibition, 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.