American War, 12 x12 x 6

Hand-crafted infinity mirror with wood, glass, LED lights, and crystal/stone beads


There’s a line I remember, from the short but tremendous book Sitt Marie Rose by Lebanese-American writer Etel Adnan, where the narrator wished that we could have shot at birds instead of at each other. She also wondered how many thousand birds must be sacrificed for that to happen. How much innocent blood must be spilled before war can be stopped?

Since war is such a futile endeavor, ideological causes are necessary to help the participants stomach its horror. Peace and religion are often used as the sharpening stone for the blade that cut the enemy’s throat, and they are represented in American War as large red droplets in a bloody rain curtain. I add the metal beads at the end of the strings, for their shape reminds me of grenades, tank wheels, gun barrels—instruments of war. In contrast with American Vision, which required arduous precision in measuring and spacing beads, I took a freestyle approach with American War. My intention was to replicate the chaotic, emotionally charged aspect of war. The dark window feels overcrowded with numerous blood drops… as if in the middle of a heavy rain fall.

—Yeu Q Nguyen, Sep 2018