In his latest body of sculptural objects, Nguyen works with concrete blocks found, often abandoned, at construction sites. The sculpture is studded with bamboo, radiating outward from the block in a manner akin to the bristling quills of a porcupine and reconfigured in the symmetry of a Buddhist mandala. Bamboo grows naturally and abundantly in areas that the artist refers to as the tropical Global South. It has been used for centuries as a construction material and is heralded as a sustainable and renewable resource. It also holds a more geographically-specific history: in the Vietnam War, guerilla fighters used bamboo to create booby traps, using the material as a strategy to equalize the military technology of the French and US armies.
In Radiant Remembrance, Nguyen reconstitutes the object as a memorial structure that allows him to parse the traumas caused by the tensions between the natural and built environments, between nature and the man-made.