• Tuần Andrew Nguyễn, The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon (2022). Image courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York
    Tuần Andrew Nguyễn, The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon (2022). Image courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York
18 February 2023–16 April 2023

Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn – It Was What Is Will Be

Marabouparken konsthall has the great pleasure to announce the Vietnamese filmmaker and artist Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn’s first solo exhibition in Sweden: It Was What Is Will Be. 

Nguyễn’s films explore the human memory and its potential as political resistance. Through thorough research Nguyễn weaves together people’s stories, documentary material, mythology and fantastical visions of the future into narratives that are as visually as emotionally appealing. The themes that Nguyễn often return to in his works are refugees, displacement and the experience of returning home to an unfamiliar place. Sound and music play an important role in his films.

In the exhibition three films are shown: The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon (2022) with sculptures produced for this exhibition, The Boat People (2020) and The Island (2017). Together the three films create a temporal continuity that is referred to in the exhibition title: that which was, that which is and what will be. All three films take place in places with strong connections to the Vietnam War.

Tuần Andrew Nguyễn, The Boat People (2020) Image courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York

In Nguyễn’s latest work The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon the artist explores the physical remnants of the Vietnam War. The landscape in the province of Quảng Trị where the film is set is filled with bombshells, ammunition and untriggered explosives. The narrative follows a young woman named Nguyêt who alone takes care of her traumatized mother and their family run scrap yard. As an escape from reality Nguyêt creates sculptures of old bomb shells, sculptures that also take place in the gallery room. These, once death bringing objects are in the film transformed into objects whose resonating sounds have a healing power.

The Boat People show us a future where it is uncertain whether humanity has survived. A group of children travels the seas and collect histories from objects they find. The group lands in a place formerly known as Bataan. A Philippine province, west of the country’s capitol Manila, where a large refugee camp was built to take care of Vietnamese boat refugees. The term “boat people” was used for the approximately 800,000 humans who fled Vietnam by boat after the war.

Tuần Andrew Nguyễn, The Island (2017) Image courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York

In The Island events on the small island Pulau Bidong on the coast of Malaysia – once the world’s largest refugee camp – is weaved together with a dystopian vision of the future. Many of Nguyễn’s films take place in his home country of Vietnam and neighboring areas in southeast Asia. Even though they often are grounded in the Vietnam War and its aftermath the discussed themes are frightfully contemporary. The exodus from Vietnam and its neighboring countries during and after the Vietnam War was one of the first events referred to in mass media as a refugee crisis. A word that has become commonplace for us today when millions of humans are on the run from totalitarian terror, war and climate change.

Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn (1976) was born and works in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) but grew up in California after the family escaped the country following the Vietnam War at the end of the 1970s. Nguyễn primarily works with video installations often accompanied by sculptural objects. His art revolves around the power of memory and its potential as political resistance. His practice is based on research and engagement in communities exposed to trauma due to colonialism, war and displacement. He is educated at The California Institute of the Arts and is the co-founder of the artist collective The Propeller Group. Nguyễn’s films has previously been shown at the Aichi Triennial in 2022, the Berlin Biennial in 2022, Manifesta 14 in 2022 and his work is included in permanent collections in museums as MOMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

A program for the exhibition will follow.
The exhibition will open on the 18th of February.

Press viewing Friday the 17th of February at 11.00. The artist will be present.
Contact: Helena Holmberg helena.holmberg@marabouparken.se


Opening: It Was What Is Will Be – Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn
Concert: Nguyễn Thanh Thủy