A Dream Of The End At The End Of A Dream

A Dream Of The End At The End Of A Dream

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Opening: Sat 24 Apr 2021, 06 pm – 08 pm
Exhibition: Tues – Sat, 27 Apr – 26 June 2021, 10 am – 07 pm
Galerie Quynh
118 Nguyễn Văn Thủ, Đa Kao, D.1, HCMC

From the organizer:

Galerie Quynh is pleased to present A Dream Of The End At The End Of A Dream, an exhibition by Tuan Andrew Nguyen and Wowy. This highly anticipated show is their second with the gallery, the latest in a wide range of collaborations since 2008’s Quiet Shiny Words/Cultural Doppelgangbangers, where the artists explored subcultures in the contexts of Vietnam and America.

13 years on, the artists’ fascination with the flows of culture and commodity has morphed into concerns for the future: What becomes of Earth when its last man dies? The befogging landscape of a world on the edge of human extinction is rendered as vast, colourful murals, as taut silk marked with blood, as fantastical sculptural forms… The narrative anchor to these varied artistic approaches is the titular film, which, amid apocalypse, centres around an unlikely conversation at a bar. Wowy, in the role of the last man on Earth, plays a drinking game with an unknown entity – one not quite cyborg nor hologram, so “like a God, or something”. The more they discuss the end of humanity, the more Wowy is disoriented. As the scenario unfolds and frustrations build, filmic dialogue becomes poetic verse.

For Tuan Andrew Nguyen, whose practice fuses fact and fiction to create hybrid narratives, and Wowy, among other things a writer and performer of poetry, textual elements maintain a powerful presence in their latest body of work. In Mindmap of Mayhem, the artists’ digitalturned-analogue exchanges are layered on top of a doomsday map, created by “futurist and spiritual visionary” Gordon-Michael Scallion after having had a psychic episode in the early 1980s. Painted text messages – ruminations on “who is guilty?” – are interspersed between Scallion’s vision of a world underwater. As a project mind-map, the meanderings and miscommunications in Mindmap of Mayhem provide viewers with clues to navigate the exhibition that are playful at times, sobering at others. Nguyen relays the question: “can we imagine a world where […] increased social freedoms and eco-positive approaches that embrace indigenous wisdom […] may co-exist?” Sculptures, with bamboo rods and incense fanning out from concrete and steel, stand in dialogue – perhaps as answers, perhaps as mere speculation.

Delving further into the possibilities of this “co-existence”, Nguyen and Wowy propose the inherent contemporaneity and futurism of particular techniques, the most salient being blood painting, done here using Wowy’s own blood. Painting with blood dates back to prehistory. In Blood Stains Still Remain and Prayers To The Heavens, painting with blood inescapably dates forward to the future – a means for the last man on Earth to leave behind his will and final prayers. The artists’ application of Wowy’s verses in geometric patterns is humorously self-aware: the canvases may well become indecipherable relics in the vein of hieroglyphics, or crop circles, or even Stonehenge for the beings that occupy Earth after humanity’s demise. The gesture is also a humble acknowledgement that many futures exist beyond the end of the Anthropocene.

A Dream Of The End At The End Of A Dream is apocalyptic, but far from dystopian. The last man lays to rest as the film’s cyborg-deity reminds us: “The end of humanity is not the end of the world”. As we get nearer and nearer the end, the exhibition invites us to imagine a future that holds other possibilities for the objects and spirits that survive us.

The artists would like to send their special thanks to, Nguyễn Văn Đủ, Nafi, SoryLê, 3 đầu 6 tay, Dương Hoàng Long, Nguyễn Xuân Phương, Nguyễn Vũ Quang Tùng, Khim Dang, Harry Vũ, and Huỳnh Ngô Vân Anh.

About the artists

Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s practice explores strategies of political resistance enacted through counter-memory and post-memory. Extracting and re-working narratives via history and supernaturalisms is an essential part of Nguyen’s video works and sculptures where fact and fiction are both held accountable.

Nguyen received a BFA from the University of California, Irvine in 1999 and an MFA from The California Institute of the Arts in 2004. Nguyen has received several awards in both film and visual arts, including an Art Matters grant in 2010 and best feature film at VietFilmFest in 2018 for his film, The Island. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA; Manifesta 13 Marseilles, Marseilles, France; Say it Loud, Bonnefanten, Maastricht, Netherlands; … of bread, wine, cars, security and peace, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; Bodies of Water, 13ᵗʰ Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China; Seismic Movements, Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Rights of Future Generations, Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Sharjah, UAE; So Far So Right, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan; SOFT POWER, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San
Francisco, CA, USA; Where the sea remembers, The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Leaving the Echo Chamber, 14ᵗʰ Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah, UAE; Homeworks, Beirut Biennial, Beirut, Lebanon; and THE GARDEN – End of Times; Beginning of Times, AroS Triennial, Aarhus, Denmark.

Nguyen founded The Propeller Group in 2006, a platform for collectivity that situates itself between an art collective and an advertising company. Accolades for the group include the grand prize at the 2015 Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur for the film The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music and a Creative Capital award for their video project Television Commercial for Communism. Besides a major travelling retrospective that began at the MCA Chicago, the collective has participated in international exhibitions including All the World’s Futures, Venice Biennale 2015, Venice, Italy; Prospect.3, 2014 New Orleans Triennial, New Orleans, LA, USA; Made in L.A. 2012, Venice Beach Biennale 2012, Los Angeles, CA, USA; The Ungovernables, 2012 New Museum Triennial, New York, NY, USA; and 7ᵗʰ Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

Wowy is recognised as one of the most influential hip hop artists in Vietnam, and especially following his role as a coach on Rap Việt – a competition for emerging hip hop artists. His music, which blends modern rap with Vietnamese cultures, speaks to the challenges of living in poor neighbourhoods and the social taboos of our time – reflections on his humble upbringings.

During his career as a hip hop singer-songwriter, Wowy has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Top 10 Favourite Song of the Year, Green Wave Award; Most Liked Rap/Hip Hop Song, Zing Music Awards; Top 1, #zingchart; Top 1, YouTube Music Trending for his song “Thiên Đàng”. He also became the Winning Coach on Rap Việt when his mentee Dế Choắt became the Finalist. In 2014, Wowy won the Western Digital’s Project: Sci-Fi Film Challenge in Vietnam for Best Actor for his leading role in The Last Generation by Thibaud Taillant. In 2019, he played a supporting role in Ròm by Tran Thanh Huy, which won the 24th Busan International Film Festival for New Currents Award, as well as wrote its theme song “Chạy”.

Wowy’s teenage years marked his involvement in graffiti, which has continued to inform his current work as a visual artist. Since 2008, Wowy has held several exhibitions including Quiet Shiny Words / Cultural Doppelgangbangers in collaboration with Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Strategies from Within, Ke Center for Contemporary Arts, Shanghai, China; and Vietnam The World Tour, Amsterdam, NL; Paris and Lyon, France; Kabul, Afghanistan; Singapore; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Brisbane, Australia; Los Angeles and San Jose, CA, USA.

About Galerie Quynh

Recognised as Vietnam’s leading contemporary art gallery, Galerie Quynh has been promoting contemporary art practice in the country for over two decades. The gallery is known internationally for its consistently focused programming and educational initiatives. Working with a select group of emerging, mid-career and established Vietnamese artists, the gallery also exhibits the work of distinguished artists from around the world. In keeping with its mission to develop a sustainable ecosystem for the arts in Vietnam, the gallery collaborates with artists, curators, museums and art spaces locally and internationally to organise talks and lectures as well as to produce publications in English and Vietnamese. In May 2014 the gallery founded the non-profit educational initiative Sao La. Currently spearheaded by Dalat-based artists Nguyen Kim To Lan and Nguyen Duc Dat, Sao La comprises a young, diverse group of passionate creatives working loosely as an independent collective.

A new chapter began in December 2017 when the gallery moved to a 600 square-meter space in Dakao, District 1. Spread over four floors, the gallery is able to produce more ambitious programming and play an even more vital role in the cultural community in Vietnam.

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