Dec 03 2016

Trong Gia Nguyen at L’Espace, Hanoi, Vietnam: December 16, 2016 – January 31, 2017

Les Bananes, Trong Gia Nguyen’s first Hanoi solo exhibition, will be opening this month at L’Espace.

‘Banana’ is a term, used playfully and in the pejorative, which refers to an Asian person who is more Western in nature and who has lost touch with the cultural identity of his or her parents. Hence, like a banana is ‘yellow on the outside and white on the inside.’ In English, ‘banana’ also refers to someone who has a screw loose, in other words, crazy. And like the fruit, Nguyen’s works often require the peeling of layers.

In this playful, interactive exhibition, the artist contends with these roots and stereotypes. He investigates his own ‘status,’ having been born in Saigon, grown up in the United States since he was 4, and now living again in Vietnam over the last 20 months. Like the happy idiot who doesn’t know any better or how to be politically correct, Nguyen’s conceptual approach calls into question the insistence of purist, authentic identities, specifically based on race and arbitrary social hierarchy.

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