Mercury Rising: Nature Strikes Back is a wake up call. Kaung Su references famous works to discuss a very serious topic – climate change, environmental decay, and the urgent need to address the disturbing changes on our planet. Please see below for the full artist statement.
Mercury Rising : Nature Strikes Back
Kaung Su’s works are rational revelations on the frontiers of the cosmos, dying environments, the impact of catastrophes and unbounded curiosities – a narrative display of exploratory horizon. Starting with an observation platform , he then creates the epic background. The stories in the artworks describe their origins and background, rather than the story itself.
Living in a desperate century, we witness nature’s patience running out. The past has returned to haunt us. We have to pay the price for the weight of our environmental guilt. Our planet cannot be saved unless we destroy our intellectual dust in the dark site of humanity. Just one or two degrees leads to risking human life.
Mercury Rising (2014-ongoing) consists of five disposable syringe sculptures, speaking about the global impact of climate change on human health. How much longer can the human population go on damaging the world’s natural system before we breakdown?
We seek cosmic connections, evidence that our human existence is related to the large-scale forces of the cosmos. The greatest hazard is that civilization could be entirely destroyed any day by the unexpected impact of asteroid or comet. The voice in “Colliding Worlds” belongs to the philosophy that we are living in the stop and go progression of life, re-creating a memory of the titanic impact on earth.
The sculpture “1987-A” is a part of the “We Are All Stardust” series, which addresses the theme of supernova material which helped to build life on earth. These works are containers loaded with supernova remnants. While we may not know where we are going, at least stellar evolution provides us information about where we came from!
“Let Live”, constructed from wood, pieces of iron, plaster and ropes, references the novel Moby-Dick (1851) written by Herman Melville. Some long, some short, the single harpoons are coated with plaster and paint. The encounter with the white whale brings a tragic end to a love affair with the sea. True-life horror is a part of Moby-Dick and that served as the stimulus for a harpoon installation.
The Last Stand #2
When a single organism becomes so overgrown that it’s a menace to the whole food chain…. We see the Human race becoming a disease. The Anthropocentric world view is like a gas leak – we don’t smell it but it is killing us silently. Human activities are responsible for natural pollutants. We must think not as individuals but as species.
The Last Stand #2 features a symbol of cut wood hanging from Elysium. The title of the work refers especially to the last days of the world’s natural system.
The eco-system’s devastation diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.
“Third-worst” reveals the disappearance of wood in our country. Myanmar has the third-highest annual rate of forest reduction. Our land is already one of the most climate-disaster-prone nations. “Third-worst” is also metaphor for climate ethics and urgent threats. The second voice of this work is that man is a part of nature, not some separate holy species!