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Fundació Joan Miró

Thao Nguyen Phan

Becoming Alluvium

16 Nov 2019 – 6 Jan 2020

Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona


© Thao Nguyen Phan, Becoming Alluvium, 2019, produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation

Becoming Alluvium is my contemplation on the glory and the tragedy of the Mekong River… my attempt to collect testimonies for the captured sediments and the variety of species that are sacrificed for humankind’s constant seeking of perpetual brightness.”
—Thao Nguyen Phan

As the 2018 recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – LOOP Barcelona Video Art Production Award, artist Thao Nguyen Phan will present Becoming Alluvium, an installation of video and painting at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain, this autumn, the first venue to host the installation of this award-winning young artist, once again renewing their commitment to the ideals of Joan Miró and his firm support for new generations of creators.

Becoming Alluvium is composed of two elements: a video with the same title and Perpetual Brightness, a series of Vietnamese lacquer-and-silk paintings, structured in the form of detachable folded screens.

The exhibition builds on Phan’s ongoing research into the Mekong River, which runs through China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The waterway supports the largest freshwater fishery in the world, as well as rice agriculture and ecosystems in its Vietnam delta. In addition to its environmental and economic importance, the Mekong River has taken on a cultural significance, inspiring an array of ritualistic, musical and artistic expressions that shape the cultures of Southeast Asian countries.

Becoming Alluvium observes the environmental changes to the river due to the expansion of agriculture, overfishing and the economic migration of farmers to urban areas, with particular emphasis on the perceptions of the impact of environmental change on nature and human lives. Through different levels of narrative and speaking simultaneously of real and imaginary worlds, Phan proposes alternate versions of reality. Her work builds up a multi-layered, aesthetically thrilling, poetic body of work. However, going beyond a purely historical or political point of view, it explores current questions on food security and our ecological responsibility towards agricultural environments.

The Han Nefkens Foundation has supported the production and presentation of this new work at the Fundació Joan Miró, as well as further presentations at WIELS in Brussels and at Chisenhale Gallery in London.

Thao Nguyen Phan’s exhibitions will be accompanied by an illustrated publication titled Monsoon Melody. The monograph features Thao’s recent work and contains texts and special contributions by Zoë Gray, Sam I-Shan, Lila Matsumoto, Han Nefkens, Pamela Nguyen Corey, Thao Nguyen Phan, Hilde Teerlinck and Thomas D. Trummer. The publication is designed by Ok Kyung Yoon, edited by the Han Nefkens Foundation and co-edited by Fundació Joan Miró, WIELS and Chisenhale Gallery with the support of Galerie Zink Waldkirchen. It is published and distributed by Mousse Publishing.


Thao Nguyen Phan

Becoming Alluvium

Hilde Teerlinck, Director 
Han Nefkens Foundation, Barcelona

Martina Millà, Curator
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona

Fundació Joan Miró

Parc de Montjuïc 08038 Barcelona 

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