Two Vietnamese Artworks Selected for the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018

Two Vietnamese Artworks Selected for the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018

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Phan Thao Nguyen, Tropical Siesta, 2017. Photo: Hanoi Grapevine

Vietnamese artist Phan Thao Nguyen and Vietnamese-American artist collective The Propeller Group have been selected as two of the 15 finalists of the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018.

The triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize returns for its fourth edition in 2018 with prizes worth SGD100,000.

Fifteen finalists were recently announced by the Singapore Art Museum and Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation. Two of them are from Vietnam, namely Phan Thao Nguyen with Tropical Siesta and artist collective The Propeller Group with AK-47 vs. M16.

Tropical Siesta (2015–2017) is a 2-channel video installation that tells an imaginary tale of a rural Vietnam populated only by children. Set in an agricultural community, they reenact the observations recorded by French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes (considered the father of the romanised Vietnamese script) as he travelled through Vietnam in the 17th century. Tropical Siesta forms part of Vietnamese artist Phan Thao Nguyen’s larger project, ‘Poetic Amnesia’. Accompanying the installation are several paintings, rendered on x-ray film backing, of images from the videos.

Hanoi Grapevine’s video about Phan Thao Nguyen’s exhibition “Poetic Amnesia” in Hanoi in December 2017:

AK-47 vs. M16 (2015) is a re-creation of the one in a billion chance of two bullets, shot from opposing sides of a battle, colliding into each other. The colliding bullets from an AK47, invented by the Soviets, and an M16, the brainchild of the U.S. army, highlights the horrifying scale of wartime and political violence throughout 20th century history. It was inspired by a historical incident that had the probability of only one in a billion chance of happening. Working with ballistics experts through a long process of trial and error, The Propeller Group has recreated this phenomenon, capturing the explosive, exquisite impact at the instant when both projectiles meet.

The artworks were displayed at the exhibition Cinerama: Art and the Moving Image in Southeast Asia in Singapore from 17 Novemeber 2017 to 18 March 2018.

The Propeller Group, AK-47 vs. M16 (detail), 2015. Image: Singapore Art Museum

The 15 finalist works were chosen from 113 artworks nominated from over 40 countries and territories. Ranging from painting to video and installation, the finalist artworks span the length, breadth and diversity of the Asian continent and beyond, hailing from Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The winners of APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018 will be announced after an awards ceremony on 29 June 2018. The finalist artwork are on view at an exhibition held from 25 May to 2 September 2018 at the National Museum of Singapore.

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