September 26, 2020
September 3, 2020
Nguyễn Huy An
Võ Trân Châu
Phan Thảo Nguyên
Trương Công Tùng
Nguyễn Trinh Thi
‘Extended Realities’ – a group exhibition featuring works from five contemporary artists of Vietnam: Võ Trân Châu, Nguyễn Huy An, Phan Thảo Nguyên, Nguyễn Trinh Thi and Trương Công Tùng.
Through a minimalist installation, a video art piece, an ephemeral installation and a series of 10 multimedia paintings, ‘Extended Realities’ examines how the artists are working with ideas of time, memory and history.
Drawing from literature, philosophy and daily life, artist Phan Thảo Nguyen observes ambiguous issues in social conventions and history. Nguyên’s work ‘Hunger Thread’ is part of her personal interpretation of the rarely discussed 1945 famine in Vietnam. This ephemeral installation consists of hundreds of raw jute balls scattered throughout the exhibition space. These jute balls can be blown away by the wind or kicked or stepped on by the viewers. In this work, the artist proposes a more nuanced approach to personal and historical tragedies using a new perspective on history and narration, and an artistic medium.
Meanwhile, artist Võ Trân Châu recreates collective memories via her embroidery and mosaic artworks depicting long gone architectural structures or historical figures, in an attempt to access obscured or unwritten histories of Vietnam.
In contrast with Châu and Thảo Nguyên, artist Trương Công Tùng considers time as one medium for his series of paintings ‘The time of passing shadows (1 2 3 4...)’. In this intriguing series, Tùng sets out a layered narrative of time that is coherent yet tacitly perplexing, with images and information interleaved with fact and fiction
Time and history are always central themes in Nguyễn Huy An’s research. In this exhibition, Huy An presents a minimalist installation entitled ‘Exercise No. 2’ which forms part of his ongoing project inspired by the undeniable significance of Lenin as a political figure in the history of the country. The work is created following the artist’s study of the changing shadows of a public sculpture of Lenin over the course of one day, according to the time and position of the sun.
Nguyễn Trinh Thi’s practice as a moving image artist has consistently engaged with memory and history, and her work ‘Eleven Men’ is no exception. ‘Eleven Men’ is composed of scenes from a range of Vietnamese classic narrative films featuring the same central actress, Nhu Quynh. Spanning three decades of her legendary acting career, this multilayered work has created a personal connection with and contemplation of the complicated history of Vietnam.
*The exhibition is part of Manzi’s Art Programme supported by Goethe-Institut Hanoi.
ABOUT THE ARTWORKS
1. Installation ‘Exercise No. 2’ của NGUYỄN HUY AN
---translated from Vietnamese
Exercise no. 2: Find an equation that shows the variation of shadow area of Lenin monument over time.
Figure 1: Illustration of sun’s position and projection angle at 2.30 pm on the Autumnal equinox of 2014.
Note: The Shadow area calculated at different times has tolerance due to the correlation between the positions of Sun and Earth ---
This installation forms part of Huy An’s ongoing project inspired by the undeniable significance of Lenin as a political figure in the history of the country, and of Hanoi in particular. The work is created following the artist’s study of the changing shadows of a public sculpture of Lenin over the course of one day, according to the time and position of the sun. In the study, the shadow exists as an entity arising from the interaction of the natural (the sun and the spinning of the earth) and the unnatural (the concrete form of the statue).
Written in the form of a math exercise requesting people to determine the area of Lenin's shadow at different times of the day, consolidated into a mathematical equation, the work gives the viewers an opportunity to reflect on the way our logic, ideals, and world views have always been constrained and impacted by natural forces beyond our control.
2. Embroidery paintings by VÕ TRÂN CHÂU
*Portraits no.8,10,11 - (Embroidery on fabric) : Portraits of Emperor Hàm Nghi, Emperor Thành Thái and Emperor Duy Tân – three Emperors of the Nguyễn Dynasty who all were dethroned by the French and exiled to Africa.
*‘Somewhere near here 1’ (secondhand clothing, found cabinet door) : image of Thủ Đức Market and Thủ Đức Communal House which no longer exist.
*‘Somewhere near here 2’ (secondhand clothing, found cabinet door) : Image of the long gone Chợ Lớn Post Office
By pixelating the photographs of architectural structures or historical figures that have completely or partially disappeared from public memory and then laboriously reconstructing them with secondhand clothing or threads and fabric, Tran Chau’s latest series of mosaic and embroidery paintings are a way of re-creating collective memories, as she observes and more deeply explores multiple angles of history.
3. Video art 'Eleven Men' by NGUYỄN TRINH THI
(2016) Single-channel installation, sound, 28 minutes
‘Eleven Men’ is composed of scenes from a range of Vietnamese classic narrative films featuring the same central actress, Nhu Quynh. Spanning three decades of her legendary acting career, most of the appropriated movies — from 1966 to 2000 — were produced by the state-owned Vietnam Feature Film Studio.
The film’s text was adapted from “Eleven Sons”, a short story by Franz Kafka first published in 1919, which begins with a father’s declaration: ‘I have eleven sons’, then describes each one of them in acute and ironic detail. Transposing the ather’s voice of Kafka’s story, the film begins with a woman stating: ‘I have eleven men’.
Footage found from films:
‘Đến hẹn lại lên’ (1974, dir. Trần Vũ)
‘Ngày lễ thánh’ / The Holly Day (1976, dir. Bạch Diệp)
‘Bài ca ra trận’ / Song to the Front (1973, dir. Trần Đắc)
‘Mối tình đầu’ / First Love (1977, dir. Hải Ninh)
‘Nổi gió’ / The Wind Rises (1966, dir. Huy Thành)
‘Hy vọng cuối cùng’ / The last hope (1978, dir. Trần Phương)
‘Mùa hè chiều thẳng đứng’ / Vertical Rays of the Sun (2000, dir. Trần Anh Hùng)
‘Xích lô’ / Cyclo (1995, dir. Trần Anh Hùng)
4. Series The time of passing shadows (1 2 3 4 ...) by TRƯƠNG CÔNG TÙNG
Pencil and digital prints on Mylar film, light, darkness, dust, time... 29 cm x 21cm/ 8 layers per piece
20.. – on going
Tung’s works are often multilayered, appearing as a coherent narrative, yet tacitly perplexing with images and information interleaved with fact and fiction.
5. Ephemeral installation ‘Hunger Thread’ by PHAN THẢO NGUYÊN
(raw jute balls)
‘Hunger Thread’ is part of Phan Thảo Nguyên’s continuing multimedia project entitled ‘Mute Grain’. This ephemeral installation consists of hundreds of raw jute balls that are scattered throughout the exhibition space. Those jute balls can be blown away by the wind or kicked or stepped on by the viewers.
Mute Grain is Phan Thảo Nguyên’s personal interpretation of the rarely discussed 1945 famine in Vietnam, during the Japanese occupation of French Indochina. The famine is believed to have caused the deaths of over two million Vietnamese in the Red River Delta. Mute Grain, with a new perspective on history and narration, and an artistic medium, proposes a more nuanced approach to personal and historical tragedies. Nguyên hopes to present the crop failure and famine in the most compassionate and objective way possible, combining sorrow with optimism to celebrate the ephemeral beauty of plant, animal and human lives