Playroom, 2023, International Studio & Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY
Playroom, a solo exhibition of work by Clae Lu, focuses on bringing pleasure, joy, and comfort through particular practices and mediums the artist returns to time and again. Central to Playroom is an installation inviting audiences to rest, reflect, and meditate to a sonic playlist of improvised ambient music created together with Ben Florencio, a producer, musician, and chosen family member of the artist. The installation serves as an idealized architectural facsimile of the various spaces where Lu seeks out and nurtures communal kinship.
A constellation of wall works documents Lu’s everyday life: their main instrument, the 古筝 (gu zheng) presented as a sculptural object, paintings of a family style meal, a selection of self-interpreted scoring from the sonic playlist, and framed drawings. Dating as far back as 400 BCE, the 古筝 (gu zheng) is a traditional Chinese string instrument that is usually plucked. Lu’s experimental way of playing the instrument is an intentional act of queering, a reclamation of how it can be understood and explored, evident in both the sonic playlist and two live performances that take place during the exhibition. Throughout the exhibition, Lu asks, “What does it mean to celebrate the mundane?” and “How does my community come together to create new traditions?”