The catalogue to Anne Chu's exhibition Animula Vagula Blandula has just been published. This large, 120-page hardcover work dedicates some 70 pages to a vivid yet detailed impression of the exceptional sculptural and pictorial installations the New York artist has created at Museum Haus Lange. Anne Chu will be travelling specially to this book signing on Friday, 25 January, 11 a.m.
The book has been published by Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, and costs 25 euros at the museum (retail price 36 euros).
In her paintings and sculptures Anne Chu (*1959 New York, USA, lives and works in New York) is above all interested in historical themes which she uses to instigate dialogues between western and asian cultures. She mines history like a quarry and brings it up to date with its contemporary reception. Among the points of departure for her works are, for instance, Chinese funerary sculptures, Indian temple carvings, Roman figures from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and even the architectural models of Antonio Gaudí.
On the invitation of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Anne Chu visited Museum Haus Lange in 2010 and, after gathering her impressions, developed a dedicated cycle of works tailored to Mies's villa. The Latin title she has given the exhibition, Animula Vagula Blandula, comes from Marguerite Yourcenar's novel of letters, Memoirs of Hadrian. “Animula Vagula Blandula” is the first line of the poem that Hadrian personally composed for his mausoleum, and which the novel translates as follows: “Little soul, gentle and drifting, guest and companion of my body, now you will dwell below in pallid places, stark and bare; there you will abandon your play of yore…”
Central in the exhibition in Krefeld is a group of thirteen “putti” made of glazed porcelain; they have been taken from Roman frescoes. The putti are flanked by a life-size torso made of nickel silver - likewise based on a Roman sculpture - which recalls the mortality of human beings. This in turn is accompanied by two porcelain sculptures of children depicting various humours. The artist stages a disconcerting Gesamtkunstwerk that constantly wavers between the present and the historical past - an installation whose presence develops to its full stature amid the modernist design of Villa Lange. To accompany this, Anne Chu has come up with a cycle of coloured drawings for the upper floor that complements the suite of sculptures in both form and content. Museum Haus Lange will be presenting the work of Anne Chu for the first time in Germany.
A catalogue will be published during the course of the exhibition (expected in December), including a detailed presentation of the cycle of sculptures and drawings and texts by the US American authors Cornelia H. Butler, Ingrid Schaffner and Paul Bloodgood.