Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn

-

Space Rock

2022

Stainless steel, concrete, rotary engine

300 x 300 x 300 cm

The concrete cube at the core of [the original, small-scale version of] ‘Space Rock’ started life at a construction site. Acting as a test for quality – every batch of concrete is first poured as a 15×15 cm block and is tested on before use – the cubes get thrown by the wayside once they have fulfilled their purpose. Reinstated here as an outer-planetary object, the concrete cube is a symbol of human influence and the artifice of our built environment, reflecting our so-called triumph in overcoming nature by way of putting things “on the grid”. We build, and develop, and consider it an advancement. In the race to progress we extract and exploit.

Walking around the sculpture as if to follow its orbit, a complete block of concrete can be seen from all angles through reflections of the cube in the discs of stainless steel. Exploring how we see our environment but also how we see ourselves in it, the artist underscores how illusion can at times be taken for truth. With the buzz and fervour around space travel, the romance of being able to reach far-flung planets often masks the reality: that it is an escape from Earth, soon reaching its critical climate threshold. If the concrete component of Space Rock posits that permanent human presence in space is not just plausible but imminent, the fused object – containing within it a tangible tension between the cosmic shapes of the circles and the manmade form of the cube – questions whether that presence is once again one of destruction.

(with text excerpt from Galerie Quynh)