The work “System” was shown in Phan Quang’s 2013 exhibition at San Art, Space / Limit. It is an exhibition concerned with the social habits, expectations and desires of contemporary society. Phan Quang is drawn to the resilience, knowledge and skills of the working class, particularly the largely agricultural community of Bao Loc with whom he continues to live and work. It is through the medium and use of ‘mum’, a kind of bamboo, that he finds a metaphorical and historical tool of artistic reference. Across the broader Asian region, mum is a material of great strength, durability and support used in building construction, furniture and handicrafts. It is also found woven as dome-like cages, typically housing chickens and commonly found on both urban and rural street corners. Such structures, what Phan Quang prefers to consider as ‘mobile homes’, are of significant influence within this exhibition. Composed of photography, sculpture and a large-scale installation, Phan Quang photographically and physically reproduces this symbol as a home and a limit.
Phan Quang states, ‘My idea of ‘limit’ is a story of an individual, examining the limits that I have set for myself in my habits and daily behavior. How can I improve these limits to be able to live a better life? For this exhibition, I have created bamboo cages that look similar to those made for birds and poultry. Such objects are a metaphor for me to visually challenge understanding of my personal space, my home, where I belong and feel most confident. This kind of structure I use to refer my own social self, a self affected and influenced by mass media, material greed, the myths, illusions and dreams in my mind that counteract with the community in which I live and work, with the places I visit and the various social rituals that I keep repeating. I want to awaken the consciousness of myself and the way I communicate with the world, perhaps the cages surrounding me could be removed and become a hollow porous material that is easily overcome.’
(Adapted from San Art’s website)