TIME LIGAMENTS - Contemporary Vietnamese Artists
Exhibition dates: 14 May-16 August, 2009
Venue: 10 Chancery Lane Gallery ART PROJECTS and ANNEX
Chai Wan Industrial City Phase One, 6/F, 60 Wing Tai Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
Khanh Cong Bui, Tiffany Chung, Phu Nam Thuc Ha, Christine Nguyen, Thi Trinh Nguyen,
Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Tuan Thai Nguyen, Tu Duc Nguyen, Rich Streitmatter-Tran
Co-curated by Dinh Q. Lê and Zoe Butt in cooperation with San Art, Ho Chi Minh City
Circulating within our image-burdened world are creative wanderers that ponder the vestiges of mediated fact and control -- the crumbling layers of paint on government walls; the memory of a burning, martyred monk; the quasi-morphing of local habit with the experiential remnants of a 'European Elsewhere' -- these itinerant image makers of Vietnam contort such hidden shifts into concrete form in Time Ligaments.
In this exhibition nine perspectives grapple with the persisting memories of a country where the past stubbornly lingers in the literal and mental landscape of the everyday. Their stories traverse the experience of migration and return; the metamorphosis of popular foreign trend with local custom; the stymied struggle of resistance against historical ideas of social control; or the increasing urban dilettante whose material desires lay waste to their history and surroundings. Time is schizophrenically warped in the photographically paused moments of Tu Duc Nguyen, while Phu Nam Thuc Ha's lens captures the surfaces of crumbling government walls marveling at how time is the nascent agent of change. In Tuan Thai Nguyen's careful paintings, where working life holds hostage to ideas of individual social worth, a crouching headless figure dressed in office garb faces a corner of an empty room. Such psychological influence of a neo-liberal world is also of great import in the gouache rendered drawings of Khanh Cong Bui and the conceptual sculptures of Tuan Andrew Nguyen, where ideas of deterioration and control are given broader metaphorical context in examining how the tools of a game operate as political strategy in pacifying conflict and terror, not just in Vietnam.
This is but a brief glance of the layered complex narratives in this exhibition where nine provocative artists will be showcased through painting, video, photography, sculptural installation and works on paper.
Title: Lao Tzu Dreams of the LHC (2009)
Sculpture. Stainless steel, copper, brass
The installation began with an observation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most expensive scientific endeavor to date. The LHC is a particle accelerator whose mission is to replicate the conditions of the universe during the first fractions of a second of the Big Bang, and to validate our current models explaining the nature of reality. Particular components of the LHC appear strangely similar in form to the Ba Qua mirrors used in Feng Shui geomancy found throughout Asia that aim to properly align natural forces. Both the LHC and the Ba Qua mirrors aim to harness and understand the power of nature and yet are tools separated by thousands of years.
Some of most recent observations of the quantum world are also very close to descriptions found in the ancient texts, such as the I Ching (Book of Changes) and the Tao Te Ching, such as the fundamental nature of all things being movement and change. The number 8 has for long been considered lucky and primary to the Chinese as the trigrams represents all possible human and cosmic interactions. Eight has also become fundamental to our modern conditions, as the number has become the cornerstone of the binary code of our digital world (for example, 8, 32, 64-bit), and it has extended beyond into other areas of thought such as the 8-fold path in Buddhism.
This installation reconsiders the unique relationship between ancient texts and the most advanced cutting-edge frontiers of science and wonders if both are the same, as if Lao Tzu had once dreamed of such an experiment.
For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory... [we must turn] to those kinds of epistemological problems with which thinkers like Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence. - Neils Bohr, Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge.
Similarities in visual form: The LHC and the Ba Qua
Work in progress
Work in progress. Completion of the polygonal faces
Opening night at the 10 Chancery Lane Gallery Annex
A view through the sculpture
Posted by on May 15, 2009 11:12 PM | Permalink