"TIME LIGAMENTS" – CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE ARTISTS
HONG KONG, MAY 2009 — 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.