Critics’ Picks

Cole Lu, Thoroughbred (no caster of weather foretold), 2018, concrete, 10 x 12 x 18".

Cole Lu, Thoroughbred (no caster of weather foretold), 2018, concrete, 10 x 12 x 18".

New York

André Filipek and Cole Lu

american medium
515 W. 20th St. 3N
May 24–June 30, 2018

“While Removing the Garbage or Paying the Cleaner,” André Filipek and Cole Lu’s two-person show here, curated by Eileen Isagon Skyers, features sculptures of chubby, hairless dogs based on Aztec effigy vessels from the western Mexican state of Colima. Filipek, whose family is originally from Colima, merges these dogs with Rotoplas water-storage containers, a reference to the aging and increasingly privatized infrastructure of Mexico’s water system. Privatization will, predictably, decrease water access and quality while enriching corporations, further proof that the state no longer exists—if it ever did—to further human thriving. Instead, operating as a handmaiden to transnational capital, the state keeps people alive just enough to leech from them.

In Lu’s Thoroughbred (no caster of weather foretold) (all works 2018), a horned monster’s head made from concrete (based on the titular creature of Disney’s 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast) appears as though it’s drowning in the floor. The piece is also partly autobiographical, cast from a mold of Lu’s own face. Other works are similarly fragmentary: Some are lulled, then is a pair of kneeling silicone, resin, and fiberglass legs, cut from the mid-quadriceps to halfway down the shin, while So much of the river I do not know (I can drink you out of town) comprises a tattooed forearm resting on a Plexiglas diving board. It is unclear to whose body, if anyone’s, these abandoned parts belong. Lu’s works insist on brokenness, refusing to cast themselves as either Platonic transcendence or Deleuzian vitalism. Instead, the diving board and drowning beast—much like Filipek’s Rotoplas statues—foreground water.