UuDam Tran Nguyen
15 November – 30 December 2016
UuDam Tran Nguyen (b. 1971, Vietnam) transforms the boundaries between urban myth and popular legend to explore the role and impact of human progress on rural and urban spaces. He works with video, performance, photography, sculpture, and new media to reflect on contemporary life at a time of globalisation. Nguyen has exhibited in numerous international exhibitions such as the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand (2015); the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia (2015); Bildmuseet Museum, Umeå, Sweden (2015); RISD Museum, Providence, United States, (2014); 4th Singapore Biennale: If the World Changed (2013). Most recently he participated to the Aichi Triennale, Aichi, Japan, and was included in the exhibition BODY/PLAY/POLITICS at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan. Nguyen was the recipient of the Jury Selection Prize of the prestigious 18th Japan Media Arts Festival for his robotic app artworks License 2 Draw and co-founder of the experimental art magazine XEM.
“Have formerly colonised countries become colonising countries learning from their own past? To what extent does the colonial past still affect our actions and mind-sets?” During his residency, UuDam Tran Nguyen will work on Time Boomerang, a long-term project started in 2013 that explores the lasting influence of colonialism. As a Vietnamese artist whose life has been defined by diasporic experiences, he frames his relation to history from a personal perspective. Articulated in eight phases, this ambitious project has a global scope and moves along a dizzying timeline of 250 millions years. The first phase, titled Phase 1. The Real Distance of Things Measured: The Cast of the Hands and Its Five Fingertips, revolves around the idea of measurement and has been presented at the Bildmuseet Museum of Contemporary Art, Umeå, Sweden, (2015).
UuDam Tran Nguyen’s multidisciplinary practice spans across different mediums often combining sophisticated technological devices with materials such as clay, rubber, wood, and fabrics.
Within the context of the exhibition Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts of Critical Spatial Practice, Artist-in-Residence UuDam Tran Nguyen will present Waltz of the Machine Equestrians (2012) and Serpents’ Tails (2015), two films that address issues of economic growth, air pollution, and urban development. Both works are inspired by the movement of traffic in Ho Chi Minh City and reference ancient Asian mythologies. The urban landscape is transformed into a surreal stage through a lyrically choreographed sequence of actions that reinterpret the relation between the body and the city. The artist will also discuss Time Boomerang, a long-term ongoing project he will develop during the residency.