Dec 01 2020

Ngo Dinh Bao Chau at San Art, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: December 3 2020 – January 9, 2021

Curated by Nguyễn Phước Bảo Châu, Artistic Director of the Dogma (Contemporary Art) Prize, Am I Superwoman? features works by Lêna Bùi, Ngô Đình Bảo Châu, and Xuân Hạ. The exhibition retrospectively analyses the glorifying portrayal of Vietnamese female figures in Vietnamese Socialist idealism according to the Ba đảm đang virtues (dutiful Home-maker, Worker, and Fighter); and in the other, introspectively delves into the intimate interpretations of femininity by contemporary female artists. The artists’ multidisciplinary works serve to explore woman sacrifice, to redefine individualistic feminine values, and examine the outsiders’ gaze on the female body. Bringing the two together allows a comparative reflection between myth and reality, collective idealism and personal characters concerning female roles.

In response to these questions, the contemporary artworks of the female artists display their own realities and distinctive beliefs. [...] Ngô Đình Bảo Châu’s act of stripping away vibrant colors and pulling apart a sculpture titled “Victory” that she installed ten years ago at Sàn Art’s former space to celebrate female heroism, reflects her personal evolution and conscious attempt to decline the given virtuous titles she no longer aspires to bear.

[...] What remains of a sacred monument are scattered mementos: a carved wooden frame carrying memories that have seemed to fade away – a modest shrine; a commonplace neon signboard reminiscing an expired item – a deconstructed pedestal. Such are reminders of our mortality, of mourning, of mundane life and a claim of an irony: relentless pursuit of elevating a symbol to new height whilst shouldering a hefty burden – a rejection of a title! Such is Châu’s inquisition into the realm between symbolism and truth, between illusion and authenticity, in the manners that certain hero/ine are presented, as seen in propaganda, where mystified figures are projected onto real bodies.

Exhibition Text: Nguyễn Phước Bảo Châu

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