My body is everywhere: the bomb which destroys my house also damages my body insofar as the house was already an indication of my body.
Chapter NY is excited to announce The Temple of Sleep, Cole Lu’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Combining literary and historical reference with autobiographical experiences, Lu's practice builds new mythologies that carry echoes of trauma, transformation and regeneration. Lu questions the theistic concept of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothingness), proposing a more complicated interspersal of time and human existence. Presented as a compilation of gestures or a collection of brief anecdotes, Lu's work unfolds serially, following invented characters through a parallel world of his creation. Each exhibition or body of work reveals another element, broadening his narrative to incorporate new sites and characters. He (re)invents, (re)names, and (re)writes his subjects, composing each work with an elaborate fragmented title – a literary device that further subverts conventional linear narratives and amplifies his poetic vision.
The Temple of Sleep expands the saga of Geryon, a character derived from Ancient Greek mythology who Lu reimagines as an autobiographical figure. The anchor of the exhibition is an imagined temple on the moon – a site of hypnosis where memory is lost and healing may occur, a place for death and rebirth. Geryon visits this temple on his journey to the moon and reencounters an older, other, version of himself, someone he had killed through the process of forgetting. The pain and trauma of this confrontation is echoed in the pyrographic drawing of an erupting volcano burned into the surface o fthe structure. A framed work on the back wall of the temple, pictures two beckoning astronauts flanking an archway that bears the inscription: “Eros shook my mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees.”
Throughout the exhibition sculptures and wall works depict scenes and relics from Geryon’s time on the moon. Together they present recollections from a fractured memory and visualize a new emerging identity.
Full Work Description
1. It took him a long time to arrive from not very far away: namely, to learn that what marks a historical milestone is simply an original barbarity laying irretrievably in the dark and when, eyes talked into blindness, to learn that to see was to keep living along the edge of self, with other, maybe lighter thoughts, another voice, another face. (Fountain of Lethe), 2022, Burnt birch
2. Installation view
3. Night was when his hand grew, bigger and bigger, until the island he was born on fits into his palm. (Geryon), 2022, Brass, pine
4. Installation view
5. Of the journey itself, he has no recollection except for a sound of thunder made from the burning of Time, all the hours piled up into a bonfire, flickering, the years blazing behind him. (The Ninth Sun), 2022, Drexel Heritage mirror, cast resin
6. Rope against wood is a sound; it places you in the labyrinth back on the island. The year he straps his wings, the winter holds the night to its word. (Geryon), 2022, Black-brushed stainless steel
7. The instrument telling the hours also carried a melody, struck a resonate cluster of notes, a chord of stretching hours. To travel back home, he learned to memorize first and second endings. (Time), 2022, Burnt birch, cherry column, clock dial, stainless steel convex mirror
8. Installation view
9. What is the shape of Time? He wishes there were some questions around its complexion. (Transported Man), 2022, Burnt cypress
10. The clock tower strikes three times in the distance before he knows he wants nothing to do with remembering. A world without memory is a world of the present; everything is occurring, even the flame burst inside him. Three crackling sounds from now, he hits the ground and starts running. (Hypnos), 2022, Burnt birch
11. In every tale comes the point he can see no further, the complete diary entry after the first day of his injury or the cracking stone slabs where his grandparents wore their honor on it. One can spend a lifetime trying to get through Democracy in America, wash up red in the tide of its dreams. (The Temple of Sleep), 2022, Burnt cypress
12. Of the many things he used to say to me -A meeting with words is a meeting with the invisible. Behind me, he is as stiff as justness. (The Astral Man), 2022, Burnt birch
Photo by Charles Benton. Courtesy of The Artist and Chapter NY, New York
Cole Lu (b. 1984, Taipei, Taiwan) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been exhibited atCompany Gallery; New York; Nir Altman, Munich; The Drawing Center, New York; the Institute ofContemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; La Casa Encendida, Madrid; and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, among others. His writing has appeared in Coffee HousePress, Minneapolis; WONDER, New York; and The Seventh Wave, New York. His publication Smells LikeContent (Endless Editions, 2015) is in the artists' book collection of the Museum of Modern Art Library, New York.