HCMC – Exhibition “The Sap Still Runs”

HCMC – Exhibition “The Sap Still Runs”

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Artwork by Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine

Opening: Wed 24 Apr 2019, 7 pm
Exhibition: 24 Apr – 21 May 2019
Sàn Art
Millennium Masteri, B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Dist 4, HCMC

From the organizer:

The duo exhibition “The Sap Still Runs”, organized by Sàn Art and the Institut Français in Vietnam, is a gathering of personal poetics by Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine and Trương Công Tùng.

Comic-book artist and Art Labor Collective collaborator Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine presents a collection of gouache sketchbooks and video diaries that document memories of, and intimacies with, the sprawling conurbations, sensuous landscapes and nameless faces that the artist has passed in Sài Gòn and Buôn Ma Thuột over the years. Poustochkine has been incubating this diaristic travelogue during his previous stays in Vietnam and most recently, a residency at Villa Saigon.

Trương Công Tùng, in a metaphysical dream-dialogue with Freddy Nadlny Poustochkine, transmits into the space an uncanny body of installation works, utilizing media ranging from gently appropriated or archived organism — a seared tree root, a string of wooden praying beads, a filmic segment of ghostly insects on the wing — to an ethnographic text on indigenous beliefs from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Patiently collecting and tinkering with found materials, the artist works through realities of extractivism and ephemerality across the now fragile highland forests and from a more expansive spatio-temporal dimension, across the historical strata of (neo)coloniality in the context of Vietnam.

Artwork by Trương Công Tùng

“The Sap Still Runs” takes its conceptual inspiration from a picture of a felled pine tree in the Cévennes of France, an incident Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine encountered by chance and believed to be a vital resonance with the sight of devalued rubber trees being truncated en masse in the Central Highlands, a cyclical phenomenon he’d learned through Trương Công Tùng’s practice of salvaging and metamorphosing tree corpses into works of art in Jarai Province, Vietnam. As vertical forests transform into severed bodies on the ground, their sap, bearing the spirit, or the soan[1], of the trees, continue to spill and permeate the environment, this time, in the guise of creations and gestures embedded in the exhibition space, a mediating apparatus separate from the remote terrains where the artists first witnessed their own scenes of deracination.


[1] The cosmology around the spirit or “soan” is learned from Les populations montagnardes du Sud-Indochinois, a book authored by Jacques Dournes, a Christian-missionary-cum-ethnographer widely translated in Vietnam. Dournes devoted the book’s final chapter, “L’âme et les songes,” to legends, tales and discussions on the Central Highlanders’ worldview that all visible forms are pictures (rup) of invisible spirits (soan). The book is translated by Nguyên Ngọc into Vietnamese under the title Miền Đất Huyền Ảo, meaning Magical Land.

Sàn Art Gallery
Millennium Masteri, B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Dist 4, HCMC
(enter from Nguyen Huu Hao side)

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