Residual: Disrupted Choreographies

Opening: 21.02.2014 
Exhibition on view until 27.04.2014
Location: Carré d’Art
Carré d’Art – musée d’art
contemporain de Nîmes
16 Place de la Maison Carrée
30000 Nîmes, France


‘Disrupted Choreographies’ weaves eight contemporary voices from Vietnam who propose alternate narratives between colonial histories, collective behavior, systems of class and the crumbling of ideological thought. This exhibition challenges the relationship between Vietnam and the ‘global’ stage, illustrating an artistic community critical of the historical consciousness that often stands in for its name (ie. the guilt of war; the tourist getaway; the nostalgic colonial).

Vietnam is a nation with a significant conscience that has appeared in more televised media than any other global conflict in the 20th Century, its residual frame compressed and repeated to ease the guilt of what is locally called the ‘American War’. Vietnam has long been a theatrical stage for the highly choreographed movement of world politics. This is a community at once cautious and embracive of what is foreign, believing in the opportunity of tomorrow as a residual time, as potential for renewal.

The artists in this exhibition juxtapose historical event and social phenomena; relevant to the diasporic contexts they conceptually and physically traverse. Their dance in the residual space of failing ideologies, post-industrialized communities, heterotopias and the ramification of representation are careful artistic choreographies that they understand are in cyclical movement, ie. in repeat. Their conceptual choreographies are habitual in the work of Lena Bùi and Nguyễn Huy An (eg. the study of human behavior or the collective as a strategy of survival); displaced in the work of Đinh Q Lê and Jun Nguyễn-Hatsushiba (eg. the political asylum seeker, the catalogued document, the spiritually disillusioned); absent in the work of Nguyễn Thái Tuấn and Nguyễn Trinh Thi (eg. the symbolic marking of what once stood, or what once took place); and causal in the work of The Propeller Group and Tiffany Chung (eg. The repercussion, the spin-off, the consequence). These are deliberate methodologies that question the impact of assumed structures of social control eg. the archive, entertainment, ethnography, psychology, monumentality and behavioral science, to name but a few. They craft highly stylized aesthetics whose images embrace formats internationally familiar and marketable – the moving, painted, sculpted and the performed. What anchors and empowers their work is the study of the residual, that liminal near intangible fragment of memory that has become almost rootless for its lack of visual signposting in topical life.

A full color catalog has been produced for this exhibition with commissioned texts by Zoe Butt, Colin Gardner, Christopher Myers, Bill Nguyen, Liem Binh Luong Nguyen, Nguyen Thuy Diem, Nguyen Vo Thu Huong, Pamela Nguyen-Corey, Philippe Peycam and Nora Taylor.

The exhibition has ben featured on Art Radar Asia journal, the widest-reach editorially independent online news for contemporary art in Asia. Read the full article by C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia here.

This event is organized in the France-Vietnam Year, Nam Viet Nam Phap 2013-2014