This catalogue accompanies Masked Force, an exhibition of Võ An Khánh’s iconic war photographs that took place at Sàn Art in April-September 2020. The publication features an additional selection of unexhibited photographs from Võ An Khánh’s wartime archive and an essay by curator Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng.
Designed by Nhật Q. Võ
Produced by Sàn Art
Supported by the Goethe Institut
Language: English & Vietnamese
Printed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
30 x 30 cm, 108 pages, hardcover
*Limited edition of 100 copies
Price within Vietnam: 1.200.000 VND (shipping included)
Price for international orders outside Vietnam: 90 USD (*plus additional international shipping fees depending on Covid-related price surge)
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Excerpt from the Introduction:
“Võ An Khánh made some of the most phantasmal photographs of the Vietnam War, or so I have come to believe. His pictures spellbind the viewer with glimpses into the urgent and quotidian lives of the Mekong Delta resistance. Võ captured the way covert cadres—military medics, printing workers, song and dance ensemble members—took refuge inside and coexisted with the forests of Cà Mau, day in day out. […] These fleeting situations, now animately present in the form of calm flat photographic surfaces, allow the struggle to be seen anew in all of its inscrutable otherness.”
“The inexplicable affect of these photographs is difficult to verbalize. I have been wandering the outlandish pictures, trying to neither redundantly repeat the photographer’s avowedly factual descriptions nor generate a critic’s exhaustive arguments and masterly conclusions. The idle wandering is a way of self-orienting among the enigmatic images of the past, a disorienting land strewn thick with absence and loss, a moor crawling with lacks and rifts where meaning drops.” — Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng
About the photographer
Võ An Khánh was born in 1936, in the village of Ninh Quới in Hồng Dân District, Bạc Liêu Province, south-western Vietnam. During the 1960s and early 1970s, he traveled with a guerrilla unit to document the front line of the Vietnamese resistance against the U.S. in the Cà Mau region. He managed the Photography Department of the local revolutionary cause and documented many events related to frontline music and dance events. Võ An Khánh’s photographs have been included in the exhibition “Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side” in 2002 (co-organized by the International Centre for Photography, New York) and various other international and local exhibitions and publications.
About the writer
Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng is a writer, translator and curator. She graduated from Stanford University and lives in Sài Gòn.