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Art

#Antonius-Tín Bui#gender#identity#paper#portraits

Antonius-Tín Bui Carves Spaces for Diverse Histories in Their Meticulous Paper Artworks

April 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

A hand-cut, blue paper portrait.

“Solo of Raven” (2021), hand-cut paper and paint, 109 x 60 inches. All images © Antonius Tin-Bui, courtesy of moniquemeloche, shared with permission

Intricately cutting single sheets of paper by hand, Antonius-Tín Bui (previously) reveals intimate portraits of friends, family, and the diverse narratives that shape identity and community. The Vietnamese-American artist’s subjects are delineated by elaborate geometric and botanical patterns evocative of Southeast Asian decorative motifs and are often portrayed among clusters of traditional porcelain vases, some of which contain large voids as if a piece has broken off. Among the vessels and patterns, Bui details figures enmeshed in their surroundings as words and interiors tenderly acknowledge the queer Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Bui describes their identity as “ever-glitching” queer, non-binary, and Vietnamese-American, and as a child of refugees who immigrated to New York, they are interested in the narratives of displaced communities, the enormity of transition and transformation, and false dichotomies in geography, culture, and gender. The artist was struck by the focus that cultural institutions place on vessels—and Asian ceramics, in general—in their collections, confronted by the way that many Western museums have historically erased Eastern cultural narratives, resulting in fragmented, siloed representation of an antiquated, overgeneralized Orientalist perspective of the past.

Pieces like “There’s Fluency in Forgetting,” which is part of a series of exploding vessels, mark the transformational nature of the passage of time, visualizing the relationship between past and present to construct what Bui describes as “hybrid identity and histories.” For each figure, the artist carefully carves the details of tattoos, jewelry, and messages that reveal aspects of their stories. Each work is a meditation on presence and absence, memories, inter-generational trauma, and beauty, “metaphorically carving out space for the narratives that are so often omitted from recognized histories.”

moniquemeloche will present a solo exhibition of Bui’s work at Independent Fair in New York next month, and you can see more on the artist’s website and Instagram.

A hand-cut paper sculpture in red.

“There’s Fluency in Forgetting” (2022), hand-cut paper, ink, pencil, and paint, 32 x 24 inches

A detail of a hand-cut paper composition.

Detail of “Solo of Raven”

A hand-cut, blue paper portrait.

“Holding onto these fragments, all these years (The Protectors)” (2021), hand-cut paper, marker, pencil, and ink, 83 1/2 x 43 inches

A hand-cut, red paper portrait.

“Vanguard” (2018), hand-cut paper, 78 x 42 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches

An intricate blue, hand-cut paper sculpture.

“The Resounding Echo of a Revision” (2022), hand-cut paper, ink, pencil, and paint, 34 x 28 inches

A detail of a hand-cut paper composition.

Detail of “The Resounding Echo of Revision”

A hand-cut, blue paper portrait.

“Holding onto these fragments, all these years (The Protectors)” (2021), hand-cut paper, marker, pencil, and ink, 93 1/2 x 42 1/2 inches

A hand-cut, blue paper portrait.

“Holding onto these fragments, all these years (The Protectors)” (2021), hand-cut paper, marker, pencil, and ink, 92 x 42 inches

#Antonius-Tín Bui#gender#identity#paper#portraits

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