Cole Lu the Side Room
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.

–Jean-Paul Sartre

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Combining literary and historical reference with autobiographical experiences, Lu’s practice builds new mythologies that carry echoes of trauma, transformation and regeneration.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 of the 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.

Cole Lu (b. 1984, Taipei, Taiwan) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been exhibited at Company Gallery; New York; Nir Altman, Munich; The Drawing Center, New York; the Institute of Contemporary 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 House Press, Minneapolis; WONDER, New York; and The Seventh Wave, New York. His publication Smells Like Content (Endless Editions, 2015) is in the artists’ book collection of the Museum of Modern Art Library, New York.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, translated by Hazel E. Barnes (New York: Washington Square Press, 1993), 323-5.