Summer pop-up: Remnants
Duration: 15.07.2022 — 17.09.2022
Location: Sàn Art
Unit B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Ward 6, District 4,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(enter from Nguyen Huu Hao side)
Bringing together Quynh Dong, Bao Vuong, Nguyen Phuong Kieu Anh, and Phan Anh, ‘Remnants’ looks at the intersecting points of portraiture and memory. It explores what contemporary portraiture might look like in the 21st Century, and how this pictorial category has shifted away from simple mimesis into a longing to recompose the stories of others, and by extension the self. Above all other artforms, portraiture has a unique connection to the concept of likeness, explaining our tendency to observe it as a substitute for evidence and fact of a person, society or era frozen in time. But no matter the accuracy, portraiture has always been mediated by the subjective impulse of the artist and by its context of production. This feels particularly relevant in our time where a wide array of determinants have completely changed the face of this genre, pushing artists to fully embrace the fictitious and personal nature of their work. Erwin Panofsky described the task of the portraitist as bringing out the unique qualities of its subject, how it differed and stood apart, while also revealing its common traits with the rest of humanity. Similarly, the four artists have created homages to their families and background as a starting point, ricocheting into wider investigations of transferred memories, growing up in a postwar world, exploring diasporic and mixed identities, or parental mythologies to name a few.
The present artists all belong to the “generations born after”, with familial tales recounted to them and eventually becoming integral to their own being. Stories – whether of loss, trauma, love or resilience – have become memories of their own, a ‘living connection’ with the past. They investigate similarities, coalitions, and discontinuities between generations, and by recomposing these portraits they inscribe themselves within the family heritage. While such creative gestures are not new, what is notable here is rejection of counter-memory a clear-cut response, preferring instead open-ended accounts mirroring our own fragmented, multilayered and constantly mutating global world. In this showcase of phantasmagoric images, the remnants not only allude to the reawakening of the dead or the past, but to the creative act of making composite narratives with morsels of truth, fiction and myth combined.
- Artists: Quynh Dong, Bao Vuong, Nguyen Phuong Kieu Anh, Phan Anh
- Curation & texts: Mary Lou David & Vicky
- Translation: Chau Hoang
- Coordination & Design: Nguyen Phuong Anh
- Production: Le Nhung
- Promotion & Programme: Nhi Phan