Bui Cong Khanh


The Variation


Hand-painted ceramic with carved jackfruit frame

100 cm x 115.5 cm

In Bùi Công Khánh’s work, tradition has been absorbed by the medium – porcelain imitation for instance – and the medium has become a metonym, a substitute for complex enquiries ranging from socio-political commentary to reflections on personal identity and cross-cultural heritage. He carefully selects medium and form for their inherited significance, thus the final product becomes a cue, and viewers are invited to unpack the different layers of meaning implied. Although exquisite and refined, Bùi Công Khánh’s porcelain wares are not meant to be static and decorative, they are meant to “perform” heritage and engender meaning.

The Variation showcases complex entanglements of Chinese heritage and cultural cross-pollination in the shape of interlaced panels of blue and white ceramic. Visual prompts such as an arsenal of rifles and grenades that are disseminated in the panels make 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. The porcelain webs of vivid childhood memory are anchored in a collective remembrance of war.