Kien Situ 司徒建 (b. 1990, Australia) is an artist working across sculpture and installation to explore the ideas of memory cultural amnesia and identity in relation to constructed objects and built environments. Drawing upon both his diasporic Chinese-Vietnamese upbringing and his Eurocentric architectural education Situ creates objects which reinterpret his formative hybrid aesthetics. The incorporation of ink is foundational to Situ’s practice as part of his broader investigation into the interrelationships between geography and identity. The material associations of region-specific ink and colour provide deeply embedded connotations to time and place.
Situ’s new sculptures, whose auspicious dimensions are directly informed by the tradition of Chinese numerology. The dark forms take their colour from the alchemical mixing of industrial gypsum cement with Chinese Mò ink. Through a manual and labour-intensive casting process Situ physically manipulates the cement mixture as it solidifies to create movement and form. The stormy gradients now frozen in time become evocative of layers of geological stratum or a distant birds eye view of landscape. These new works take visual cues from the natural world the Shansui (Strata) series imitates a cross-section view of the earth’s crust whereas the organic textures of the Shansui (Surface) series could easily be mistaken for volcanic rock. Situ’s abstracted forms are loaded with a psychological and formal resonance that links to the topographies of land place and geography.