In Bui Cong Khanh’s work, tradition is contained within the medium itself – ceramic and jackfruit wood, for instance – and the medium thus becomes a metonym, a substitute for complex enquiries ranging from sociopolitical commentaries to reflections on personal identity and cross-cultural heritage. The artist carefully selects the medium and form for their inherited significance; the final artwork thus becomes a cue, and viewers are invited to unpack the different layers of meaning implied.
In The Variation, complex entanglements of Chinese heritage and cultural cross-pollination take the shape of interlaced panels of blue and white ceramic. This serves as backdrop to other visual prompts, such as an arsenal of rifles and grenades, that are disseminated in the panels, making the piece a personal reflection on the aftermath of conflict as opposed to a conclusive statement. Barbed wire left by US soldiers following the war were repurposed as fences separating households and eventually engulfed in vegetation. This vivid childhood memory, translated into porcelain webs, is anchored in a collective remembrance of war.
(Edited from text excerpts provided by San Art)