Tuan Phan: Root | Bound

Vietnamese-American artist Tuan Phan considers the human body to be a metaphorical map that physically charts the course of personal journeys. By overlaying drawn maps onto small-scale ceramic figures, the artist implies that people are simultaneously “rooted” and “bound” by their paths in life. Phan associates his artwork with Buddhist teachings about life and death, reminding viewers that their physical existence on earth is impermanent. Intricate and intertwined, Phan’s artworks inspire meditation on the roots-and routes-of human experience in the world.

Tuan Phan, Route VI (detail), 2008. Ceramic and mixed media sculpture, 17 x 5 x 6 in. Courtesy of Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Los Angeles.