Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

April 9 - May 21, 2005

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April 9 - May 21, 2005, International Center for Contemporary Asian Art, Vancouver, BC

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Thirty years after the Fall of Saigon in Vietnam, and a decade after the flowering and subsequent proclaimed failure of multiculturalism and identity politics in the United States, this exhibition highlights contemporary Vietnamese American visual artists whose work and subjectivity is affected by these socio-political intersections. Through experimental video, abstract painting, and photography, these multi-generational artists’ seemingly disparate practices explore memory, failure, sexuality, trauma, and the ambivalent politics of cultural difference.

Referring to Antonio Gramsci’s notion of the war of position (as opposed to the war of maneuver), which situates cultural production as an active site of resistance and a space to question hegemonic structures, the exhibition raises a number of critical questions. How has the legacy of the Vietnam War affected these multiply diasporic artists’ work (or has it)? How do these artists embrace, challenge and engage issues of representation, authenticity, and validation? Do they address—or problematize—the burden of representation? In short, how do these artists subvert and/or exploit standard expectations and assumptions of Vietnamese American/ Asian American subjectivity?

The exhibition is accompanied by a colour catalogue (32 illns;106pp), edited by Việt Lê and Alice Ming Wai Jim, with essays by Professors Linda Thinh Võ, Mariam Beevi Lâm, Moira Roth, and others. *

Ann Phong, Boat, 1997, 48 X 60 inches, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the Artist
Nguyễn Tân Hòang, PIRATED!  Video projection, 11:00 min. Courtesy Video Out

Đỉnh Q. Lê, Untitled (Persistence of Memory # 17), 2000-1 C-print and linen tape, 46 ½ X 66 X 3 inches. Courtesy Shoshana Wayne Gallery