Bianca Chu has been keeping busy. Currently splitting her time between London and Lisbon, the curator, writer, consultant, and collector is also combining her work as representative and special projects advisor to the Estate of Kim Lim with a Masters in Anthropology from UCL.
After nearly ten years working within the auction house cycles and spurred on by the current climate, Chu paused to re-evaluate her own place within the art world and explore a more independent approach to working. It is this spirit that informs her choice of artworks, and we discussed the fundamentals that seem to draw her towards some of these artists, whether recent discoveries or works by artists that Chu has collected in depth.
A long-held interest in Asian diaspora artists is reflected in New York-born Chu's devotion and expertise on Kim Lim, whose work she recently spotlighted in Ocula Magazine, whilst mention of Ruth Asawa, Li Yuan-chia, and Kishio Suga reveals a similar level of enthusiasm and depth of knowledge.
She cites the Ruth Asawa exhibition at David Zwirner (A Line Can Go Anywhere, 10 January—22 February 2020) as being one of the most memorable shows she has seen of late. 'I love the ethos behind Black Mountain College and how these artists came together and influenced each other and had multidisciplinary approaches,' Chu explains, in reference to Asawa's studies there under Josef Albers in the 1940s.
Li Yuan-chia and Greta Schödl provide a compelling and unique dynamic within her collection, with Li Yuan-chia having stayed with Schödl and her husband in Bologna before arriving in the U.K in 1966. Chu mentions that 'although their artworks do not necessarily have the same concerns, there is this human connection and intertwining of lives. The story of their encounter and how Li's art practice mediated this is what interests me.'
The act of tracing a story and re-writing narratives excites her. 'A lot comes down to recognising the complexities of the time, and the movements and migration of people as fluid and multidirectional—how they actually were versus the way we tend to portray and construct these artists in relation to broader narratives within art history'.
Kate Newby was a more recent discovery at the New Zealand artist's London gallery, The Sunday Painter, and Chu describes her fondness for the work's 'materiality and discreteness'.
Her affection for a Heidi Bucher latex sculpture in her collection is touching, with Chu noting, 'it is a physical and private memory of a place. Memory is acting back through the materiality of the work. Thinking about individual and collective memory as a form of healing continues to be one of my focuses within my own research.'
Chu leaves us with a statement that binds together much of the work selected here and alludes to a collecting ethos that is refreshingly sincere as it is sophisticated. 'Now everyone is thinking about figurative painting, but I try to think about experiencing art beyond the visual. The visual is essential of course, but art should attend to more than one sense.'
Main image: Courtesy Bianca Chu.
71 x 41 cm Lehmann Maupin
145 x 410 cm Goodman Gallery