Internationally acknowledged for her mixed use of portray, shifting picture, and sculpture, the Vietnamese artist Thao Nguyen Phan creates dreamlike and poetic narratives that hint the historical past of her nation in relation to modern environmental and social modifications. The exhibition, conceived as a layering of audio, visible, and tactile references amongst movies, sculptures, watercolors, silk and lacquer work, explores Phan’s follow, highlighting its symbolic and imaginative qualities. For the event, the artist has created a collection of recent productions and presents for the primary time the video set up Reincarnations of Shadows (moving-image-poem) (2023): a private reflection on the transformative and regenerative potential of artwork.
Thao Nguyen Phan studied portray at Ho Chi Minh College of Positive Arts, Lasalle Faculty of Arts in Singapore and on the Faculty of Arts Institute of Chicago and was later launched to the shifting picture by the filmic works of authors such because the Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu (1903–63), Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (1970), and Joan Jonas (1936), the American pioneer of video and efficiency. Phan thus begins to develop a visible language through which pictorial matter, appearing as a conceptual, narrative, and connective ingredient, combines with totally different media and helps, from textiles to printed books. In her movies, portray comes alive, making a dreamlike imagery through which people traditions, fairy-tale narratives, literature, philosophy, and on a regular basis life merge. The artist traces Vietnam’s turbulent historic occasions, reflecting on environmental and social modifications associated to human influence, such because the exploitation of pure sources and the destruction and colonization of the panorama.
The solo present—the primary devoted to Thao Nguyen Phan by an Italian establishment—consists of new productions and presents a collection of installations, watercolors, sculptures, and movies by immersing the guests within the artist’s delicate oeuvre. The title of the exhibition takes its cue from the brand new video, Reincarnations of Shadows (moving-image-poem) (2023), commissioned by Pirelli HangarBicocca and co-produced by Fondazione In Between Artwork Movie. Delving into the determine of artist Diem Phung Thi (1920–2002)—one of many first Vietnamese modernist ladies sculptors who lived and labored between France and Vietnam—the video displays on the social meanings of artwork historical past and structure and the intergenerational relationships between ladies artists in post-colonial contexts. Phan questions the probabilities for the reincarnation and re-signification of hidden symbols, gestures and rituals which have remained within the shadows, handed down by whispered oral narratives and infrequently overpowered by the lingering results of colonialism.
The concept of reincarnation pervades the entire artist’s work, partly because of the presence of recurring visible and sound components. As Phan herself states, “The extra I work with shifting photographs, the extra I really feel like shifting photographs, or art-making typically, has this skill to reincarnate.” By means of an method paying homage to the Buddhist faith, the artist doesn’t search conclusive objectives or leads to her follow, however turns every challenge right into a form of dwelling organism that may readjust, mould and tackle new types. Thus, the exhibition “Reincarnations of Shadows” transforms the house of the Shed at Pirelli HangarBicocca right into a fluid setting through which sounds, photographs, and narratives mix in a journey between the previous, current, and future, dealing in a broader sense with the non secular heritage of Vietnam’s historical past in a combination of private and collective reminiscences.
The exhibition is split into two speaking and permeable areas: the primary traces the artist’s profession from a brand new perspective by the overlay of canvases, screens, and shifting photographs. The guests are confronted with the central themes of Phan’s follow: the connection between people and nature; the colonization of Vietnam and its social transformations; the cultural intermingling of East and West, custom and modernity, locality and globality; and the mixture of reminiscence, folklore, and fable to create collective narratives as an alternative choice to the official historic accounts imposed by dominant political forces. In Changing into Alluvium (2019–ongoing), an set up composed of a video and a collection of lacquer work and watercolor-on-silk work, the artist investigates the financial and social function of the Mekong River for the Southeast Asian area by a fable-like, surreal narrative. The story of two brothers and their successive reincarnations interweaves a number of views on nature, love, and consumption, turning into a metaphor for human exploitation of the setting and its potential for regeneration.
The customer is invited to stroll by the massive set up, No Jute Fabric for the Bones (2019–23), composed of suspended uncooked jute stalks, to entry the second a part of the exhibition. The work is a reference to the Nice Famine that occurred throughout the Japanese occupation of French Indochina between 1940 and 1945, largely attributable to the transformation of rice fields into jute plantations. This historic episode can be personally reinterpreted by the artist within the three-channel video, Mute Grain (2019), through which the collective trauma is retraced by the mixing of folktales and photographic archives, blended with fantastical imagery with a decisive poetic drive. The second setting is devoted to the brand new manufacturing that provides the exhibition its title, “Reincarnations of Shadows.” Accompanied by a choice of Diem Phung Thi’s sculptural works from the Nineteen Seventies-90s—which encourage the exhibition’s seating and show tables—the video set up celebrates the profession of this artist, a elementary determine to the historical past of Vietnamese Modernism.
at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan
till January 14, 2024