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ARTISTS

Tuan Andrew Nguyen

  • Born 1976 in Saigon, Vietnam.
  • Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

TK06a

TK06b

Selected Works & Awards
2022
Manifesta 14, Prishtina, Kosovo
2022
Berlin Biennale, German
2022
Dakar Biennale, Senegal
2021
Asian Art Biennial, Taiwan
2020
Shanghai Biennial, China
2020
Manifesta 13, Marseilles
2020
Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh
2019
Sharjah Architecture Triennial, United Arab Emirates
2019
SOFT POWER, SFMOMA, San Francisco
2019
Sharjah Biennial 14, United Arab Emirates
2017
The 2017 Whitney Biennial, New York
2017
Yokohama Triennale, Kanagawa, Japan
2017
ARoS Triennial, Aarhus, Denmark

Exhibition

The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, 2019

TK06a

The Specter of Ancestors Becoming (2019) explores the history of the colonialization of Vietnam by France. In the mid-twentieth century, in order to suppress the Vietnamese people fiercely resisting French rule, large numbers of soldiers were deployed to Vietnam from Senegal, which was also a French colony. After the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, hundreds of Vietnamese women and their children migrated to West Africa with Senegalese husbands who had been stationed in Indochina. Many other soldiers left their wives and took only their children, while still others took mixed or Vietnamese children not their own and raised them in Senegal without connection to their origins.

A large proportion of this work consists of imagined conversations with parents or grandparents written by three Vietnamese-Senegalese descendants. The writers also appear in the video as narrators. The content is then acted out, interspersed with documentary video. By incorporating and performing the voices of people who had been involved in the events, the stories of the past come alive, weaving tangled histories that go beyond family history as reality, fiction, and the zone between them overlap.

The venue for this exhibition was Shipping Agent Takita House, who made their living as wholesalers operating cargo boats. Inside the building are exhibits relating to the history of inland cargo shipping. The kaisen boats that they used carried both passengers and cargo. They resonate with Nguyenʼs work, which addresses the complex histories produced when people migrate, and they link together the histories of Vietnam and Japan.

Nguyenʼs practice focuses particularly on video installations and sculptural objects created on the basis of field research in local history and through collaborations with people who were part of that history. He received a BFA from the University of California, Irvine in 1999 and an MFA from The California Institute of the Arts in 2004.

The video for this work was shot in Senegal and presented at the Sharjah Biennial (2019; UAE). Nguyen has also participated in other recent major international festivals, biennials, and exhibitions including Manifesta 13 (2020; Marseilles, France); SOFT POWER, SFMOMA (2019; San Francisco, USA); and the 2017 Whitney Biennial (New York, USA). Presentations in Japan have included Yokohama Triennale 2017 in collaboration with the Propeller Group, a collective that he founded.

  • Installation view at Aichi Triennale 2022
  • The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, 2019
  • Photo: ToLoLo studio
Open
10:00-17:00

*Last admission 15 min before closing time

Closed
Wednesdays
Venue / Access
Shipping Agent Takita House
  • 10 minutes on foot from Tokoname Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line / Tokoname Line.

Exhibition

The Boat People, 2020

TK06b

The Boat People (2020) is set in what used to be Bataan in the Philippines, in a future where humanity is at the edge of extinction. Five children who travel the seas are led by a young girl who encounters the mysterious head of a Buddha, a relic of a past civilization. By conversing with the statue head, she learns fragments of knowledge about their world. As the children explore a peninsula, they discover artifacts left behind by human residents, including a textbook promoting assimilation that was used in the first half of the twentieth century when the area was under US control, weapons from landings by Japanese troops after the outbreak of war in the Pacific, and street signs celebrating a nuclear power plant completed in the 1980s. Bataan had also been a staging point for Boat People, refugees from Indochina fleeing countries such as Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that came under socialist regimes from the 1970s onwards. Consequently, the ruins include a refugee processing center where the original Boat People stayed before moving on to a country willing to take them in, and structures built by the refugees, such as Buddhist temples and shrines, and a memorial commemorating a visit from the Pope.

In the Shipping Agent Takita House, the place of honor in the reception room is used to display a sculpture modeled on the boats that the boat people used to reach Bataan. In the video, the children perform the strange ritual of burning models that they make of the long-forgotten things that they find. The Buddha head buried in the sand is unsure what to make of that practice, but the girl explains that burning the objects enables them to take the children anywhere. In a sense, Nguyenʼs work can be considered a funerary celebration for Bataanʼs forgotten past, creating a monument that creates a path to take it into the future.

Tuan Andrew Nguyenʼs practice focuses particularly on video installations and sculptural objects created on the basis of field research in local history and through collaborations with people who were part of that history. Nguyen received a BFA from the University of California, Irvine in 1999 and an MFA from The California Institute of the Arts in 2004.

Nguyen has participated in recent major international festivals, biennials, and exhibitions including Manifesta 13 (2020; Marseilles, France); SOFT POWER, SFMOMA (2019; San Francisco, USA); and the 2017 Whitney Biennial (New York, USA). Presentations in Japan have included Yokohama Triennale 2017 in collaboration with the Propeller Group, a collective that he founded.

  • Installation view at Aichi Triennale 2022
  • The Boat People, 2020
  • Photo: ToLoLo studio
Open
10:00-17:00

*Last admission 15 min before closing time

Closed
Wednesdays
Venue / Access
Shipping Agent Takita House
  • 10 minutes on foot from Tokoname Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line / Tokoname Line.