Slow Motion | Colette Fu, Noodle Mountain

Colette Fu, Noodle Mountain, 2024

With the turn of a crank, delicious noodles explode from Colette Fu’s colossal pop-up book, Noodle MountainAuspicious clouds of noodles and over-life-size chopsticks float over the heads of viewers, while bean bags resembling soy sauce packets invite visitors to sit, rest, and ponder this whimsical monument. Inspired by the album cover of the children’s song On Top of Spaghetti, Noodle Mountain contemplates the deeply personal memories as well as the complex intergenerational histories of place, labor, and diaspora that food can conjure.  

For the artist, who grew up in North Brunswick, NJ, childhood memories surface across the monument: a rollercoaster, interwoven with the swirls of noodles, recalls summers at the Jersey Shore; the table gestures to her childhood family kitchen, where her father would make fresh noodles with a pasta machine. Scenes of nostalgia converge with broader racialized experiences of Asians in America. Since the mid-nineteenth century, Americans opposed Chinese immigration, fearing the “Yellow Peril” that threatened to bring disease and crime to their shores. Such widespread rhetoric led to the destruction of Chinese businesses and homes, lynchings, and racist laws that severely curbed immigration from China to the U.S. Noodle Mountain recalls these histories: plumes of fire and traces of blood can be found in the noodles, while the table’s crank references the “Iron Chink”—an automatic salmon processor whose name was derived from a racist slur—which promised to replace Chinese labor. Despite these exclusionary practices, a legal loophole made exceptions for merchant visas that permitted business owners to move freely in and out of the country, leading to an exponential growth in Chinese restaurants, which are now integral to American culture.

Noodle Mountain invites visitors to consider the ways that food histories entangle with personal memories, which pass down through time and across the globe through recipes as they are re-adapted into new contexts.

Materials: Pigment ink printing on corrugated board, gator board, vinyl, canvas; wood and metal crank table fabricated by Bradley N. Litwin.

Project manager: Gina Ciralli 
Slow Motion curated by Patricia Eunji Kim for Monument Lab

1e37b6cd Af98 4fc6 Bc83 9d184b670234Colette Fu (Born 1969 in Princeton, New Jersey; she/her) is a Philadelphia-based artist who received her MFA in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003, and soon after began devising complex compositions that incorporate photography and pop-up paper engineering. She has designed for award-winning stop motion animation commercials and free-lanced for clients including Greenpeace, Vogue China, Canon Asia, Moët Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, and the Delaware Disaster Research Center. Her pop-up books are included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the West Collection, and many private and rare archive collections. Fu's numerous awards and grants include the Joan Mitchell Painter’s & Sculptors Grant (2020), the Meggendorfer Prize (2018), a Fulbright Research Fellowship to China, the Independence Foundation, Leeway Foundation, En Foco, Red Bull, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, New York Foundation for the Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Puffin Foundation and Society for Photographic Education.

Follow Colette Fu on Instagram @colette_fu to learn more about her work.

Major support has been provided to Grounds for Sculpture for Slow Motion by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Brooke Barrie Art Fund, NRG Energy, and Julie and Michael Nachamkin. Additional support has been provided by the Atlantic Foundation, Holman, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and New Jersey Department of State.

Image Credits

  • Colette Fu, Noodle Mountain, 2024, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey, Slow Motion curated by Patricia Eunji Kim for Monument Lab; Andrew Rogers, Leading, 1997, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier  (photo: Bruce M. White)

  • Colette Fu, Noodle Mountain, 2024, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey, Slow Motion curated by Patricia Eunji Kim for Monument Lab (photo: Bruce M. White)

  • Colette Fu, Noodle Mountain, 2024 (detail), Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey, Slow Motion curated by Patricia Eunji Kim for Monument Lab (photo: Bruce M. White)