Jul 05 2019
Where The Sea Remembers is a project—comprised of an exhibition, a program series, and a website—that explores contemporary art in and about Vietnam through the practices of artists who live and work there and across its diasporas. This project marks the launch of an institutional initiative aimed at fostering exchanges and collaborations between The Mistake Room and independent peer institutions in Vietnam. The goal of this work is to create opportunities that cultivate and support an emerging generation of Vietnamese artists, writers, and curators in order to encourage the creation of scholarship that expands what we know about local and regional art histories and how we come to know it.
The result of ongoing conversations with artist friends and colleagues in Vietnam and others living elsewhere who are invested in the country’s artistic communities, Where The Sea Remembers is conceived as the starting point of an inquiry rather than its culmination. As such, it acknowledges and embraces its incompleteness in an attempt to re-imagine the function of the regionally-based exhibition format. Conscious that exhibitions have often throughout history been put to the service of nation-building, Where The Sea Remembers thinks of the nation not as a static geographic locale or even a diasporic imaginary but rather as a complex set of tense and evolving individual relationships between people and their ideas of a homeland. Thus, the artworks in the show and the contributions of program participants and commissioned writers are gathered as a dispatch of multiple perspectives rather than as a defining survey.
Sandrine Llouquet, Ngo Dinh Bao Chau, Trong Gia Nguyen, Nguyen Phuong Linh, Truc-Anh, Truong Cong Tung and Vo Tran Chau are among the 15 artists participating in the exhibition.
May 05 2019
Truong Cong Tung is presenting Across the Forest and Portrait of a deforming symbol. Lost and found at Crédakino – a projection space within Le Crédac, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry, Paris, France. Curated by the artist Thu Van Tran, the film program called D’un Sud-Est vers un autre Sud-Est also features film and video by Trương Minh Quý (and Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine), Quynh Dong, Truong Que Chi and Dimitris Tsoumplekas.
May 03 2019
Ha Manh Thang’s Fading Spring 6 has been acquired by the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC). The work is currently being featured at the museum in an exhibition showcasing 130 artworks created by 120 artists from 41 countries.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a seminar on Asian art where experts and scholars will explore the history of the development of the arts in Asian countries and share their visions for exchanges of culture and arts among different countries.
Apr 20 2019
The Sky is Not Sacred features Lien Truong’s Translatio Imperii miniatures together with a video collaboration with artist Hong-An Truong.
Exploring themes of colonialism, landscape, memory, heritage, and war, this rich body of work investigates the complexities of personal experiences, geo-political history, poetry and visual culture.
Truong examines the effects of war and imperialist history on notions of heritage, nostalgia, and home. Laser cut lines of poetry in both English and Vietnamese, overlay two red oval landscapes, one depicting Vietnamese mountains and the other a recreation of an iconic Albert Bierstadt painting of the American west. For Truong, “the works look at the personal connections of landscape, poetry and the resonating geographic location one calls home.”
By examining the ways that art, landscape, and war have been used to assert cultural and national hierarchies, Truong subverts linear assertions and provides a highly complex vision of human experience.
Apr 18 2019
Trong Gia Nguyen’s solo exhibition “This House is Falling Upwards through a Hole in (do) China” is currently on view at La Patinoire Royale | Galerie Valérie Bach, Brussels.
Nguyen’s recent sculptural and 2D works are objects defined by elements of obstruction. Beneath the allure of the surface, the works bear an implicit pronouncement of societal decline where the American Dream is superimposed over the elegiac Vietnamese landscape.
Viewers are presented with a disjointed construction of a home: secure iron fences of old colonial houses replaced by fragile wooden casings, a door with a pet flap but their functions between pet and human are reversed. In one room lies Six6Sicks – a hashtag fence that casts a looming shadow at the center representing the American Dream, where all efforts to either get in or escape are met with futility.
Apr 15 2019
The duo exhibition The Sap Still Runs, organized by Sàn Art and the Institut Français in Vietnam, is a gathering of personal poetics by Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine and Trương Công Tùng.
Comic-book artist and Art Labor Collective collaborator Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine presents a collection of gouache sketchbook and video diaries that document memories of, and intimacies with, the sprawling conurbations, sensuous landscapes and nameless faces that the artist has passed in Sài Gòn and Buôn Ma Thuột over the years. Poustochkine has been incubating this diaristic travelogue during his previous stays in Vietnam and most recently, a residency at Villa Saigon.
Trương Công Tùng, in a metaphysical dream-dialogue with Freddy Nadlny Poustochkine, transmits into the space an uncanny body of installation works, utilizing media ranging from gently appropriated or archived organisms—a seared tree root, a string of wooden praying beads, a filmic segment of ghostly insects on the wing—to an ethnographic text on indigenous beliefs from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Patiently collecting and tinkering with found materials, the artist works through realities of extractivism and ephemerality across the now fragile highland forests and from a more expansive spatio-temporal dimension, across the historical strata of (neo)coloniality in the context of Vietnam.
Exhibition Text: Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên
Mar 09 2019
Vo Tran Chau will be presenting new work in CHAT’s inaugural exhibition, Unfolding: Fabric of Our Life at Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, Hong Kong. The exhibition features 17 contemporary artists and collectives from 12 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region.
The artists use textile as a testimony of faded facts in modern history, hidden sociopolitical agendas and personal and collective experiences of textile labour in the era of accelerated globalization. Textiles are such versatile physical materials and can be used so many different ways: the same rectangle of fabric that can be used as a political banner to appeal in the public realm can be also used as a tablecloth for family gatherings. It wraps, folds, covers, shields and protects. Reinvestigating textile materials and techniques in contemporary art, the exhibition aims to stimulate visitors’ imagination regarding the unsung laborers behind textile production.
Mar 08 2019
In this major solo exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Chung probes the legacies of the Vietnam War and its aftermath through maps, videos, and paintings that highlight the voices and stories of former Vietnamese refugees. Chung documents accounts that have largely been left out of official histories of the period and begins to tell an alternative story of the war’s ideology and effects. A centerpiece of the exhibition is a new series of video interviews with former Vietnamese refugees who live in Houston, Southern California, and Northern Virginia.
Vietnam, Past Is Prologue makes visible a history hidden in plain sight for the past forty-five years. Her subject, the War in Vietnam (1955–1975), has achieved a nearly mythic significance in the United States. In Vietnam, “the War” devastated life as it had been known, dividing time into a “before” and “after.” Yet missing from the narratives told by these two sides is the perspective of the South Vietnamese, on whose behalf the Americans entered the war.
Through meticulously drawn and stitched maps, emotional interviews, and intensive archival research, Chung explores the experience of refugees who were part of the large-scale immigration during the post-1975 exodus from Vietnam. She begins with a fine-grained look into one person’s story—that of her father, who fought for the South Vietnamese military during the war, widens out to encompass the stories of former refugees from Vietnam, and pulls out further still to show the global effects of their collective migration in the war’s wake.
Mar 07 2019
Lien Truong is participating in the group exhibition “Can’t Lock Me Up: Women Resist Silence” at Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The exhibition, featuring work by prominent female artists including Judy Chicago, Hung Liu and Jenny Holzer, presents a stance for feminine power, one that is confident, bold and resilient in the face of adversity.
“One hundred years ago, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed. The next year the 19th Amendment was ratified, and American women won their right to vote. Today we can hear masses of men and even some women yelling “Lock her up!” and repeatedly invoking phrases historically used to degrade women such as “witch hunt,” “unhinged,” “low IQ individual” and “nasty.” Our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters are still groped. This story, of course, runs through Washington, D.C., the very place where the 19th Amendment was made the law of the United States. In light of the successes and failures of our republic, as well as governments all over the world, are the voices of women, themselves. They deserve to be heard, they’ve fought for the right to be heard, and we like hearing them!”
Dec 19 2018
Constellations Sunflower, a cyanotype print by Christine Nguyen, has been acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs Collection.
Born in California, the daughter of immigrants from Vietnam, Christine Nguyen grew up exploring what her father, a commercial fisherman, would bring home from the sea. Fostering an interest in the natural world around her, these childhood rambles through the ocean’s offerings may have built the foundation for her later artistic practice, which much like life in the sea, thrives on salt. When drawing, salt crystals and spray paint are layered onto her cyanotypes.(The process) further inform us on how different versions of existence can merge into one: the landscape of a subterranean world, alien architecture or mountain range stands in the foreground, silhouetted against what could be the saturated colors of an imagined sunset filled with plant-like heavenly bodies.
Christine Nguyen, Constellations Sunflower I, 2017, cyanotype on watercolor paper, 137.16 x 129.54 cm