Castle Number One
96.5 cm x 76.2 cm x 78.7 cm (38 in. x 30 in. x 31 in.)
(New York, New York, 1959 - 2016)
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Painted wood and resin, with fiberglass and wood base
Partial and pledged gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2001
Anne Chu’s enigmatic sculpture morphs from solid to void and from surface to volume, its idiosyncratic forms suggesting both ancient and contemporary art. Mixing up seemingly disjunctive references to Western European medieval architecture (a castle with parapet), Chinese landscape painting (the way the castle merges with the carved ripples of the jagged hillside), and modernist design (the assertive but clunky rectangular base), Chu has created an odd and unexpected hybrid that blends artistic styles and iconic images from diverse traditions.
Fluent in the art of watercolor as well as sculpture, Chu gives her three-dimensional works an intentionally unfinished appearance, while embellishing them with traces of color that define motion rather than form. As massive and bulky, even ungainly, as Castle Number One is, it feels like a quick sketch, like something mutable and transitory. Wondering what the tensions between painting and sculpture, abstraction and representation, and Eastern and Western cultural idioms “look” like, she has arrived at an open-ended conclusion—much as the base of the sculpture itself is open-sided at its back. Interrogatory by nature, Chu’s quirky castle comments on the unprecedented change and flux that characterize contemporary life and affect our perceptions of the world.