Of all the vampires and ghosts prowling the streets this weekend, none may be as frightening as the apocalyptic warnings from contemporary artist Kaung Su’s solo exhibition: Mercury Rising: Nature Strikes Back.

The Yangon native’s powerful sculptures and paintings depict images of cosmic collisions and global meltdown, highlighting our vulnerability to the cosmos and our limitless capacity for self-destruction.

Kaung Su describes his work as a “wake-up call” as he leads me through the installations being readied for the opening night.

The exhibition’s title installation, ‘Mercury Rising’ consists of five sculptures made from hundreds of disposable syringes. The installation’s message speaks for itself. The syringes are bonded together by a thick glue that looks like melting flesh infused with toxic waste.

“We must think not as individuals but as a species”, Kaung Su says in his introduction to ‘Mercury Rising’.

Another installation ‘Third Worst’ depicts an axe cutting through human hair in a bed of charcoaled wood. The work brings attention to the fact that Myanmar has the third highest rate of forest destruction in the world. The message from Kaung Su is that, “man is a part of nature, not some separate holy species”.

Another work, ‘Colliding Worlds’ freeze frames the moment an asteroid crashes into earth. The work combines plaster, concrete and paint to create a scarred earth effect. Historic photos capturing the devastation of meteor impacts through history, including the 1908 devastation wrought by a meteor collision in Siberia, Russia (known as the Tunguska event) are scattered around. Kaung Su’s other passion is astrology. The voice in ‘Colliding Worlds’ reminds us that our existence is at the whim of the forces of the universe – forces that could swat us like a fly at any given moment.

Who needs Halloween when you’ve got ‘Mercury Rising?’

Mercury Rising’s opening night is Friday, October 28 from 6pm till 8pm and will run until November 10.
Myanm/Art Gallery
98 Bogalay Zay Street – between Merchant and Mahabandoola.
Yangon Downtown

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