Galerie Quynh is pleased to present 1972-2015: Works by Hoang Duong Cam and Trong Gia Nguyen. In this two-person exhibition, Hoang and Nguyen contend with issues of movement, displacement, refuge, and migration. Hoang’s atmospheric paintings reference the period around 1972, when his parents married and many Vietnamese were forced to leave their homes. With a simple Google search of ‘1972 Vietnam’, Hoang uses a pinhole camera to reshoot the result images, particularly those that exhibit a sense of fleeing. He then repaints them in monochrome, dotting them with mental abstractions of puzzled color, giving fragmented context to an already blurry time in his history, just before the artist was born. Personal memory and stories of childhood fantasies are interwoven, as the artist celebrates with characteristic irony a dramatic period of Vietnam’s recent history.
Similarly, Nguyen’s recent relocation to Ho Chi Minh City from New York City re-shapes personal notions of home and domestic space. His playful yet charged sculptures superimpose an uneasy American Dream over the Saigon landscape. In one work, the iconic ‘white picket fence’ gets reconfigured into a ‘modular yellow picket fence’, contoured to resemble a hashtag symbol. Nguyen’s ‘landscaping’ dislocates and casts a movable shadow over all that is seemingly fixed. Another work called ‘Wash in the Rain’ features a clothes rack and poncho made from raw materials that a painting might comprise of: canvas, wood, metal fasteners. The rain poncho made out of raw canvas and the wooden coat rack shortened to only hold the one cloak are rendered as impractical household items. The traditional format of a rectangular canvas stretched on wooden bars is no longer applicable – and therefore convention in general – to frame or give context to the usual practices and foreign nature of ‘language’ in Vietnam.