Han Nefkens Foudation – BACC Award
Trùng mù – endless, sightless
Linh Nguyen Phuong
1 Feb – 2 March 2018
BACC – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (Bangkok)
The exhibition Trùng mù endless, sightless by Nguyen Phuong Linh invites audiences to journey through the medium and metaphor of light as a process of opening your eyes to memory. Trùng mù loosely translates as endless and sightless. This idea used by the artist is informed by the complex geopolitical terrain of Vietnam, paying attention to the undercurrents of history that have historically divided the nation and continues to affect the various cultures contained within bordered lines. These histories require uncovering and have resulted in blind spots in local knowledge. The artist engages with these legacies through a series of installation and videos which draw attention to your eye line focus through both the brightening of reality and the dimming of various narratives revealing how memory is also a ghostly and shadowy presence.
Influenced by the movement of objects, memory is ingrained into these artworks through repurposing materials. The wooden panels of a Catholic Church from North Vietnam becoming light fixtures. An elephant howdah is deconstructed as abstract shapes. lack forms of residue of rubber, a material abundantly collected in the dead of the night when the rubber readily weeps.
The unspoken legacy of geographic lines linger through the image of a young boy from the central highlands of Vietnam an area rich in minerals and central to the lives of ethnic minorities. The synthetic urban light of the city from nail parlour salons which uses artificial bulbs to dry pigment points to the urban areas which are altering the geography of the country. These are all references which demonstrate the artists concern with the diverse terrain of Vietnam as a land contested, colonised, exploited and capitalised. Interested in Vietnamese mythology, the artist also used the folklore premised on the idea that after death, the ghost never really leaves and remains an integral part of the house.
Intertwined with the often invisible weight and history of these changes, these artworks travel between these different atmospheres and terrains. The constellation of artworks begins abstractly and progressively becomes more concrete in imagery, analogous to a waking up to the world as the light pours in giving sense to the often used statement, “I see.”
Nguyen Phuong Linh, vietnamese contemporary artist, was the winner the Han Nefkens Foundation-BACC Award for Contemporary Art 2017.