Opaque Signs

A Fundraising Show by Sàn Art

Opening: 17.12.2019 @6:00pm
Duration: 17.12.2019 — 22.01.2020
Location: Sàn Art
Millennium Masteri
Unit B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Ward 6, District 4,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(enter from Nguyen Huu Hao side)

 

“Opaque Signs” is a celebration of works graciously donated by Sàn Art’s artist-friends on the occasion of the organization’s twelfth year running. Though diverse in terms of forms, concepts and references, these gifts share a material element of luminosity. As store signs made of neon and LED lights proliferate across Vietnamese cities, light becomes a default symbol of pervasive commerce, of sleepless advertisement, of a permanent “on” mode of being, perennially open to transaction.

Radiance reaches further back into our modern obsession with sight. The rhetoric of illumination and clarity has long supported the human desire to see, to discover, to champion objectivity and reason, to extend the project of enlightenment, to expose zones of darkness, to rectify ravines of unreason.

Away from its associations with civilization, technocracy and global hyperconsumerism, the dazzle of modern light could be regarded alongside its dialectical opposite—the realm of the unexposed, the undisclosed, the self-veiled. Otherworlds of opacity and indefinability, with traces of unofficial histories and private observations, are activated around the blithe shine of the works. Across the gallery, presence and concealment fuse, glowing into a world of their own, where shadows tease and tempt, while relentlessly refusing, silver interpretation.

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In this exhibition:

Ly Hoàng Ly repeats a pattern of sunken solidity, fabricating a threshold between stability and precarity / Trương Công Tùng transmits the unseeable from under the erosive shrouds of time / Đỉnh Q. Lê remixes revolutionary boilerplates with symbols of wealth in a sardonic sculpture-text / Orawan Arunrak meditates on the sacred light and routines that keep humans praying, wishing / Nguyễn Kim Tố Lan presents a faceless figure—a silhouette, a corpse, an apparition—floating across possibilities of reincarnation / Phan Thảo Nguyên embraces “dreadful optimism” on the wings of ideology and reveries / Nguyễn Phương Linh conjures an emptied nail salon, a menacing space of transformation / Richard Streitmatter-Trần proposes a perception of Saigon as a season where memories grow, wither, incessantly flicker / ƯuĐàm Trần Nguyễn sketches a terribly quiet scream, an elongated longing for somewhere unknown, a telegram for whom, who could know

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Curation: Sàn Art
Design & Production: Nhật Q. Võ
Exhibition Text: Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên

Once again, a resonant thank-you to the artists who have supported our fundraiser, the generous humans who have either donated an existing artwork or submitted an idea (a sketch, a shape, a photograph, a line of text, a single word) for us to materialize into light.