Nguyen Quoc Chanh


Moulds and Models 1


Ceramic and glaze

60 x 44 x 28 cm

For Nguyen Quoc Chanh to align his series of ceramic sculptures with the idea of a Guerilla mentality, is to place them firmly within Vietnamese history and cultural memory. To understand this process, just swap the image of a jungle soldier, living opportunistically within their environment and replace it with an artist whose materials are found and requisitioned. What emerges are assemblages that fuse multiple symbols, removing them of their positions in conventions that produce individual hegemonic meanings. At a glance, it seems chaotic, but the Guerrilla is always forced to deal in chaos until balance is reached… We can see that the moulds have diverse influences: folkloric symbols in Dong Ho woodcut paintings, the serene faces of The Bayon at Angkor Thom and Easter Island. Often, they are not made by Chanh himself, but were found – gathering dust in his adopted studio in Bien Hoa… In Chanh’s Guerrilla operation, they now become material for new purposes, positioned alongside more contemporary symbols on a shared substrate: casts of credit cards, face moulds of football-playing children and images borrowed from the high relief facets of Ben Thanh Market. In collecting these tools, Chanh acts as a gatherer and a disruptor. The recognizable motifs must exist in relation to each other and are rendered unfamiliar in a state of disorder and uncertainty. 
(Edited from text excerpts provided by the artist)