3/20/15 2:33 PM
Is a game really a game if it can’t be played? Is a picture really a picture if its images can’t be understood? In a series of sculptures and ink drawings, Tuan Nguyen tests out the value of these existential questions and achieves some answers. A quartet of wooden boards with shards of wood glued to their facades come close but never all the way to being old-fashioned games: mazes around which to direct small balls, holes into which to drop them. With surfaces alternately covered in innumerable graphite marks or glops of paint, they double as almost-drawings and almost-paintings, in addition to almost-games. A luminous set of “Marbles,” irregularly sized and made of acrylic paint, sawdust, graphite and gesso, begs to be picked up and played with. That no one does may say more about the expectations of a gallery-going public—externally imposed and self-sustaining—than it does about the nature of games, or anything else that artworks sometimes attempt to impersonate.