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Han Nefkens Foundation, Mori Art Museum, M+ and Singapore Art Museum – Moving Image Commission 2021: 

Nguyễn Trinh Thi


Nguyễn Trinh Thi © Image credits: Michael Brynntrup

We are delighted to announce that Nguyễn Trinh Thi is the recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation, Mori Art Museum, M+ and Singapore Art Museum – Moving Image Commission 2021 and will receive USD $100,000 for the production of a new screen-based artwork that will be exhibited in each participating institution.

The Moving Image Commission 2021 Jury states: “Nguyễn Trinh Thi has been selected for her compelling video works that weave unspoken stories about Vietnam within the broader historical, cultural and political realities of Southeast Asia. We believe it is imperative for Nguyễn to show these perspectives from the region and we are enthusiastic about the use of listening as a methodology, especially in terms of perceiving history in Nguyễn’s works. We trust that she will benefit wholly from the Commission at this moment in her career. We are excited about Nguyễn expanding her path of interrogation and we look forward to the project being brought to fruition”.

With the aim of being a tool for increasing contemporary artistic production within the field of moving image, the commission is directed at Asian artists or those living in Asia, who have established a solid trajectory but have not been given a major opportunity to exhibit in internationally-recognised institutions.

The three artists on the shortlist, prior to the final selection, were Nguyễn Trinh Thi (1973, Vietnam), Ugay Alexander (1978, Kazakhstan) and Wang Tuo (1984, China).
They were shortlisted from 18 artists scouted by nine curators working across Asia: Beichen Yang, Freya Chou, Grace Sam-boh, Haeju Kim, Joselina Cruz, Natasha Ginwala, Sam I-shan, Shihoko Iida and Yung Ma.

Nguyễn Trinh Thi has been selected by a final jury chaired by Han Nefkens and composed of the directors of each museum: Kataoka Mami, Director, Mori Art Museum; Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+; and Dr Eugene Tan, Director, Singapore Art Museum, in the presence of Hilde Teerlinck, General Director Han Nefkens Foundation and Alessandra Biscaro, Coordinator Han Nefkens Foundation. This unique collaboration aims to strengthen the relations among the institutions, developing a project that is first and foremost sustainable.

Nguyễn Trinh Thi: "It's a complete honour to receive this prestigious award. Thank you so much for creating such a generous commission for Asia and Southeast Asia, where non-commercial experimental art practices still receive so little acknowledgement and attention. This support will allow me to work on a dream project, with collaborations from a wider network of colleagues and communities."

Han Nefkens, Han Nefkens Foundation: “I feel inspired by the constructive dialogue that emerged from the jury meetings and the harmonious way in which the directors of the three museums came to a decision. I’m very much looking forward to continuing this uplifting exchange of ideas.”

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+: “M+ is proud to be part of this very inspiring collaboration, and we look forward to showing the completed work by Nguyễn Trinh Thi at our museum which will open this November. We are eager to see what the artist will bring to life through her unique perspective and forms of storytelling.”

Mami Kataoka, Director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo: “I am delighted to celebrate this opportunity to bring Nguyen Trinh Thi, a well-respected artist in Asia, into the broader realm of international recognition, while adding an outstanding museum piece by Nguyen to our collection. I am looking forward to learning, through her fresh perspective, about yet another layer of what we may call ‘Asia’."

Dr. Eugene Tan, Director, Singapore Art Museum: “SAM is pleased to be part of this important commission, which will push the boundaries for the moving image as a key medium in contemporary art and enable meaningful exchanges between our partner museums. We look forward to seeing the unique perspectives and stories that Nguyễn’s new work will offer.”

Nguyễn Trinh Thi is a Hanoi-based experimental filmmaker and moving image/media artist whose practice over the last 10 years has consistently engaged with the history and memory of Vietnam, with a great interest in finding innovative ways to connect cinema and the moving image with sound practices, performance and alternative forms of storytelling.

Nguyễn uses montage to compose her work, drawing on different media, from her own audio and visual recordings to found footage and still images from postcards, photography, newsreels, Hollywood films and ethnographic footage. She is also interested in incorporating new media into current works, including organic materials and natural forces.

Nguyễn’s practice currently explores the power of sound and listening, and the multiple relations between image, sound, and space, with ongoing interests in memory, representation, landscape, indigeneity, and ecology. Her works have been shown at Minneapolis Institute of Art (2019), Biennale Jogja XV, Yogyakarta (2019), 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2018); 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); International Film Festival Rotterdam (2016); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2015); CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2015); 13th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale (2015); Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2015); 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2014); 4th Singapore Biennale (2013), and 15th Jakarta Biennale (2013). Nguyễn is also founder and director of Hanoi DOCLAB, an independent center for documentary film and the moving image art in Hanoi since 2009. In 2022, she will participate in Documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany.


Mori Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum

Beichen Yang
Freya Chou
Grace Sam-boh
Haeju Kim
Joselina Cruz
Natasha Ginwala
Sam I-shan
Shihoko Iida
Yung Ma

Nguyễn Trinh Thi (1973, Vietnam)
Ugay Alexander (1978, Kazakhstan)
Wang Tuo (1984, China)

Jury members:
chaired by Han Nefkens, founder Han Nefkens Foundation
Kataoka Mami, Director, Mori Art Museum
Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+
Dr Eugene Tan, Director, Singapore Art Museum

In the presence of:
Hilde Teerlinck, General Director Han Nefkens Foundation
Alessandra Biscaro, Coordinator Han Nefkens Foundation

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