I dream of one day, the verdict of humanity : history, the sinner - young ones, the judge literature without records words without contexts languages without translation
Poetic Amnesia is an experimentation of mine in creating a half-real and half-fictitious visual experience, in which the viewer embodies the role of Từ Thức. Upon entering the exhibition, they would journey through the sphere of the artwork, where boundaries between real time and fictional time, real space and fantastical space become distorted.
I position myself as a flâneur – to borrow Walter Benjamin's word – a kind of urban explorer. Nonetheless, I formulate my voyage not within the bounds of the city but beyond geographical marks and chronological dividends. Inspirations come from not only 17th century materials found in the Roman Jesuit Archive, and the decorative patterns donning the streets of contemporary Saigon during Lunar New Year Celebration, but also my own imagination of a fabricated future somewhat reflective of the downtrodden reality of the Vietnamese countryside.
Poetic Amnesia is my venture into a figment of Vietnamese history, one that deals with the history of our chu quoc ngu (Vietnam’s romanized script), and both the fantasies and the hard facts entailed. As I feel about for the remaining traces of chu quoc ngu's celebrated father (the French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes), fate brought me to Rome where I was able to read Bento Thien’s handwritten letter to Giovanni Filippo de Marini. In the letter, he recounted Annam’s history through a series of myths, including the Mỵ Châu and Trọng Thuỷ romance tale, as a metaphor for the love-hate relationship spanning thousands of generations between Vietnam and China. Inspired by these historical sources, I allow myself to lift my feet off the ground, to tweak, to affix information and feelings in order to express my own perception of the multifacetedness of the processes of archiving, altering, erasing, revising and reconstructing human’s memory and their symbolic consciousness.
I question the obligation to classify and denominate genres, segregating poetry, fictions, history, documents, and visual arts. Mulling over these terminological divisions, I wish to construe a realm of works that are interconnected and diverse in styles and materials, by means of which genres can coexist in a dreamlike, democratic utopia. In such realm, the grandiose and the humble, the brutal and the fragile, the documented and the fictional, the stable and the ephemeral, the fantastic and the practical cohabit.
The exhibition space is, perhaps, enshrouded by a sense of dreadful optimism. The scenarios in my work reflect my social concerns, but are also how I express my faith in the visual language and its capacity to acknowledge the past, an awareness that would enable us to live peacefully in our present and to consolidate our future.
 Từ Thức: Từ Thức is a Trần dynasty's mythical figure mentioned in Nguyễn Dữ’s chronicle Truyền kỳ mạn lục (Collection of Strange Tales). The fictitious Từ Thức is an ordinary man who encounters a fairy, they get married and live together in the fairyland. Upon returning to the ordinary world, he realizes that everything – from time to people to landscapes – have been changed. Legend has it that the encounter took place in present day Từ Thức cave.