Kaung Su was born in Yangon, Myanmar. Between 1991-94, he studied painting at local artist Pyi Soe Myint and attended briefly Yangon’s State School Of Fine Arts. He has been a regular participant in numerous group exhibitions both Myanmar and abroad, since 1995, as well as in performance art. In 2001, he had his very first one-man exhibition at Lawkanat Gallery in Yangon. He always created experimental canvases in earthly tones and combined oil, emulsion, acrylic, enamel with diverse materials such as woods, pieces of plate, plaster powder and shellac. In 2008, Kaung Su moved away from his “real me “to take up more universal subject matters, dealing with cosmic disasters, climate affairs, human caused-problems around us and cosmology. He has always created his installations using wood, animal bones, neon lights, disposable syringe and a wide variety of other materials. He also has been closely associated with the medium of video since 2009.
In 2008, he spent one month in Chiang Mai as a resident artist, supported by Heinrich Boll Foundation (Germany). In September 2011, he received “Special Mention For New Vision Award” for short film (“The Butchery Day”), Wathan Film Festival (2011), Yangon. He had organized three art exchange programs that “Ongoing Echoes”, international Art exchange Project – 2009 to 2011, and also participated in other foreign art biennales/festivals and projects. Kaung Su also has been actively involved in arts management and teaching a curatorial course at New Zero art space, Yangon. In 2012, he stayed one month in Manhattan as an inbound resident artist with the apexart foundation in New York, USA. In July 2014, he participated in the START art fair at Saatchi Gallery, London, presented by Yone Arts. In October 2015, he received second time of 3 weeks explorative residency fellowship award program of apexart, New York, USA. He is the regular juror of apexart’s international open call for exhibitions, since 2016. Occasionally, he also lectures international art history at some art space of Yangon. Kaung Su is the very first and only neon light artist of Myanmar. Now he lives and works in Yangon, Myanmar.
“Cosmos in my hand.” – Kaung Su
“I work with intellectual substance. . . ”. – Kaung Su
My works are rational revelations on unbounded curiosities that mostly they are narrative displays of the exploratory horizon. I have taken rich inspiration from cosmos, our origins, birth and death of civilizations, dying environment and serious problems of our post-normal society. Faith in intellect is the root of my oeuvre. I am not working with politic and other shallow issues, I work with intellectual substance.
In the studio, I spend a lot of time studying and thinking and then trying to find the most efficient way to get what I want. I do believe the surprising result and shocking aesthetic that keep my work alive.
We still do not know the exact answer for what is spirit or sense of self, but the mind is a fragile reality and cognitive system. It is also an association of modules of mental organs. Neither can exist without others! I always dealing with the very moment of epiphany. The higher epiphany level is a huge challenge to me. I called my creative development “Cooperative Dance”. The synchrony is at the heart of my practice and process, it means synchrony of subconscious experience, intuition, passion, quality, material manipulate, chance & order, etc…Like many become one!! My epiphany is the sum of all synchronization, but I love to add aesthetic intelligence.
Sense of universality helps me to find diverse material with a different context. To carry my artistic alchemy, loading my works with such materials as iron wire, wood, plaster, burnt cloths, disposable syringes, neon lights, animal bones, photographs, and human hairs. Human hair that adds actuality and content to many of my works was first used in 2013. I think of hair as a kind of powerful manure on some works, that is, a form of higher spiritual level and also provides textural aesthetic on a specific theme.
My works are containers loaded with cosmos, history of mankind and the environment. At the same time, they have been tied to distant cosmic history and having multiple layers of meanings. One of my asteroid impact series, “colliding Worlds”, speaks about the titanic impacts on our earth and beyond. The depth image of meteorite crater refers to the fate of humankind and randomness of evolution, I also trying to recreate a memory of cosmic catastrophes.
Human intelligence is imperfect when a single organism becomes so overgrowth that it’s a menace to the whole world. Humankind is the only species that fouls its environment. I’ve also produced installations, neon words and powerful canvases that touch upon dying environment. To carry the devastating message of the ecosystem, I combine these work with climate genocide, wood disappearance, rising temperature, and pollution with epic proportion.
I am interested in establishing an eternal motif of cosmos . We are like butterflies who flutter for a tiny cosmic second and think it forever. Actually, we are all star dust and our position lost in somewhere of multiverse . In 2012, I began starting very cosmic works that the hair sculpture becomes dying star, heavy mixed medium bodies become meteorites and the neon light becomes intellectual quotes!
I tell stories in the artworks to describe their origins and background, rather than the story itself. The symbol of cutting wood, supernova remnants, heads of our ancestors, impact craters, historical pillars that these are the landmark of my morphemic field and each goes its separate way though within the same world.