Constructing Mythologies, Edouard Malingue gallery, Hongkong Sep 13 - Oct 18 2018


Curated by Caroline Ha Thuc

Every society is based on strong systems of belief that are part of our culture and daily lives. These beliefs become mythologies when they are constructed and nourished by a discourse – verbal or visual – generated and appropriated by the society we live in and by its system of communication.

This exhibition aims to explore the social construction of certain mythologies in Cambodia, China, Myanmar and Vietnam, in particular. These countries have deeply relied, and still do, on official narratives, developing and supporting fictional discourses in order to promote dominant State ideology and to obscure some parts of reality and history. Some mythologies thus serve specific political agendas while others are generated by collective beliefs – the global capitalist system, for instance – and grow and subsist beyond national boundaries. They can both invigorate society or limit its scope of expression. In response to these myths, art opposes its own fictional and independent discourses.

Everything can actually become a myth, everywhere: the five featured artists reflect on this ongoing dynamism that is constantly at work and shapes our vision of the world.

Truong Cong Tung and Khvay Samnang’s works are responding to each other. They question the encounter between two opposite mythologies that cohabit in rural areas in Southeast Asia. These lands are often the territory of sacred places and spirits, the cradle for mythical and traditional beliefs transmitted by diverse ethnic minorities who have been living there for centuries in harmony with nature. Today, with the intensive exploitation of land and rapid deforestation, traditions are waning and these ancient beliefs are threatened. However, they seem to be somehow replaced by another set of beliefs based on the rhetoric of modernity and prosperity, built by the State and by private development companies.

Truong’s installation and sculptures embody this cultural confrontation, combining hybrid found objects made of newly sacralised elements and natural parts, mingling local cosmologies with imposed technologies. His work is deeply informed by the traditional values of his native region of the Central Highlands in Vietnam.

Khvay’s video and masks are the outcome of the artist’s quasi-ethnographic encounter with the Cambodian Chong community, an ethnic minority living in the Areng Valley and known as one of Southeast Asia’s last great wilderness areas. Together with choreographer Rady Nget, the artist reflects on the animist beliefs of this population magnifying the empowerment and agency of a nature endowed with its own interiority and subjectivity.  Their representation somehow echoes the myth of a Golden Age when harmony existed between nature and all creatures, a discourse reactivated today in resistance to ecological threats and the contemporary breakup with nature.

Born to an Indian-Burmese family, Maung Day, who is both poet and artist, scrutinises the official Burmese discourse aimed at excluding minorities and fostering violence, exploring in particular the dark side of the Buddhist belief system in Myanmar.  In this series of new drawings, he hints at the institutionalisation of Buddhism by the Burmese military State and emphasises how the religion has become an instrument of its ultranationalist policies used to activate and justify violence. The ancient Buddhist tales have henceforth been diverted and stripped of all their meaningful content. Leaving all interpretations open, the artist proposes his own absurd mythologies.

Thao Phan-Nguyen’s response to political mythologies and beliefs is a set of poetic tales based on her artistic and free interpretation of history and popular stories. The time and place of her video are fictive but the work refers to the agrarian reforms that took place in Vietnam in the 1950s and to the Romanisation of written Vietnamese by French Jesuit Alexandre de Rhodes. The tone of the video and the style of her drawings are falsely naïve: beyond political utopias and dreamlike aspirations lies the reign of manipulation, dictatorship and cruelties.

These ambiguities and tensions feature also in the paintings by Chinese artist Wang Zhibo whose work remains on the edge between fiction and reality. Reaching reality is actually just another mythology since beliefs and reality are constantly and tightly entwined. The Chinese painter addresses these complex issues with her usual sense of humour against the backdrop of a ubiquitous system of power.

Phan Thao Nguyen wins grand prize at apb foundation signature art prize 2018 


quoted the Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Vietnamese artist Phan Thao Nguyen has won the grand prize of $60,000 at the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize, a triennial award organised by the Singapore Art Museum and sponsored by the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation. Phan's installation of videos and oil paintings titled Tropical Siesta imagines a village populated only by children.

Three other awards were announced today (June 29) at the awards ceremony at the National Museum of Singapore, attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

Singapore artist Shubigi Rao, took home a $15,000 juror's choice award for her film-and-print installation on destroyed libraries, Pulp: A Short Biography Of The Banished Book. Vol I: Written In The Margins (2014-2016). Another $15,000 juror's choice award was given to Thai artist Thasnai Sethaseree's paper collage on monk robes, Untitled (Hua Lamphong).

Indonesian artist Gede Mahendra Yasa's detailed acrylic painting, After Paradise Lost #1, won the $10,000 people's choice award by receiving the most votes from visitors. The 51-year-old artist was not present at the ceremony.

All 15 works of art shortlisted for the prize are on display at the museum until Sept 2.

The Signature Art Prize was launched in 2008 by the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation and the Singapore Art Museum to recognise outstanding examples of contemporary art from emerging and established artists in the Asia-Pacific region. This year, the field was enlarged to include Central Asia.

There were 113 nominated works from 46 territories.

Jurors included Ms Mami Kataoka, chief curator of Tokyo's Mori Art Museum; Mr Bose Krishnamachari, president of the Kochi Biennale Foundation; Ms Joyce Toh, head of content and senior curator at the Singapore Art Museum; Dr Gerard Vaughan, who is director of the National Gallery of Australia; and artist and independent curator Wong Hoy Cheong.

The final selections were based on criteria including strength of the idea and concept; creative use of medium, material and technique; artistic insight and interpretation; and originality of artwork.

Tropical Siesta reimagines rural Vietnam as described by a French Jesuit missionary in the 17th century. Child actors are captured in farming work as well as re-enactments of a folktale. Jurors praised the "poetic" style of the work. Ms Toh called Nguyen "a powerful, poignant storyteller".

She added: "Sensuously visual, the film pulls the viewer into its enigmatic world - a world governed entirely by children. Even as it explores a number of complex issues in Vietnamese history, the work feels fresh and very much alive."


A Beast, a God and a Line. Art, religion, and woven knowledge in today's asia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, July 20 - Oct 07 2018 

"A Beast, a God, and a Line" is an invitation to take a look at contemporary history from the perspective of Asia and the Pacific in this moment of global uncertainty and a crumbling of the western order that dominated for centuries. The show’s artists pose courageous questions and thoughtfully explore the new, fragmented reality of our world today. 

Participating artists:

Nabil Ahmed, Anida Yoeu Ali, Malala Andrialavidrazana, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Daniel Boyd, Sarat Mala Chakma, Chandrakanth Chitara, Rashid Choudhury, Christy Chow, Cian Dayrit, Ines Doujak, Gauri Gill and Rajesh Vangad, Simryn Gill, Sheela Gowda, Garima Gupta, Taloi Havini, Huang Rui, Dilara Begum Jolly, Jrai Dew Collective (curated by Art Labor), Jaffa Lam, Jiun-Yang Li, Charles Lim Yi Yong, Idas Losin, Lavanya Mani, Moelyono, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Manish Nai, Sarah Naqvi, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Jakrawal Nilthamrong, Nontawat Numbenchapol, Jimmy Ong, Anand Patwardhan, Etan Pavavalung, Paul Pfeiffer, Thao-Nguyen Phan, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Joydeb Roaja, Norberto Roldan, Zamthingla Ruivah, Ampannee Satoh, Chai Siris, Praneet Soi, Simon Soon (with RJ Camacho and Celestine Fadul), Than Sok, Su Yu Hsien, Truong Công Tùng, Raja Umbu, Chiara Vigo, Munem Wasif, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ming Wong, Lantian Xie, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Trevor Yeung, Tuguldur Yondonjamts

"A Beast, a God, and a Line" exhibition has been organised by Para Site, Dhaka Art Summit and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The show debuted in Bangladesh during the Dhaka Art Summit in February 2018 and was shown at Para Site Hong Kong March – May and at TS1 Yangon in June.

Second Yinchuan biennale, June 09 - Sep 19 2018, Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan, China 


Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge
Second Yinchuan Biennale
June 9–September 19, 2018

Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan 

Entitled Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge, the Second Yinchuan Biennale will open on June 9, 2018, at the MOCA Yinchuan. Under the artistic direction of Marco Scotini, the Yinchuan Biennale is pleased to announce the curatorial team composed of Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Zasha Colah, and Lu Xinghua.

Conceived with the aim of measuring itself against a specific geo-historic context, and proposed as a form of minor language within the biennale system, Starting from the Desert seeks to respond to contemporary urgencies (not only in China) by adopting an "archaeological method." Northwest China is still considered a remote corner, but one which, owing to the historic Silk Road, has been defined through time as a place of great flows, hybridizations and exchange of people, knowledge, languages, technologies, religions, animals, spices and goods.

In relation to the possibility of reducing the Eurasian continent to simple geo-economics, which could well be implied in current large-scale projects, the Second Yinchuan Biennale seeks to read the modalities of "group-being" at the crossroad of heterogeneous components, as indispensable to a new ecology that intends to emancipate all forms of life. In search for eco-logics as a new paradigm of transversal thought, the Second Yinchuan Biennale attempts not to reduce these elements to subject matter, but to utilize them in order to question the limits of the exhibition format, and thus to eventually produce a new eco-model of exhibiting.

The Biennale’s framework is articulated over four, interdependent (and often overlapping) thematic areas that, without seeking to limit or circumscribe, attempts to visualize their material and immaterial aspects. In the same way, these areas try to question the contradictions of the dualistic systems that have accompanied the rise of Modernity and Capital, positioning them as limits to the realization of an ecosocial program for our time.

Nomadic Space and Rural Space is concerned with the interaction of the physical environment with forms of life. It proposes less the different natures of the two spatial types, than their reciprocal intersections. Labor-in-Nature and Nature-in-Labor focuses on forces of production(paid or unpaid)and on the relations of production (appropriation, exploitation, accumulation) linked to modern ideas of nature. The Voice and The Bookintervenes at the level of mental ecology deconstructing the opposition between phonemes and graphemes, orality and writing, questioning the production and reproduction of knowledge. Minorities and Multiplicity discusses associations and the associative forms of living beings: from the micro-social to the institutional scale.

With newly commissioned works alongside ancient artistic relics from public museums and private collections, the Second Yinchuan Biennale has selected the 90 participating artists from over thirty regions, paying particular attention to the western borders of China (from Mongolia to Central and Southeast Asia) in a way that is consistent with the exhibition’s geo-political, investigative methods. Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edgeannounces its final list of artists.

Ravi Agarwal, Vyacheslav Akhunov, Navjot Altaf, Can Altay, Nazgol Ansarinia, Arahmaiani and Wukir Suryadi, Said Atabekov, Baatarzorig Batjargal, Sammy Baloji, Massimo Bartolini, Felice Beato, Erick Beltrán, Alighiero Boetti, Nomin Bold, Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining), Filipa César, Sheba Chhachhi, Nikhil Chopra, Emory Douglas, Duan Zhengqu, Enkhbold Togmidshiirev, Peter Fend, Mariam Ghani, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, Piero Gilardi, Shiva Gor, Raphaël Grisey, Grupo Suma, Salima Hashmi, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Hiwa K, Ho Rui An, Huxian Peasant Painters (Chen Jianchun, Du Zhilian, Jiaoxi Culture Station, Li Fenglan, Li Naiti, Liu Huisheng, Ma Zhenlong, Wang Zhenying), Saodat Ismailova, Joris Ivens, Francesco Jodice, Alimjan Jorobaev, Kan Xuan, Muratbek Kasmalieva & Gulnara Djumaliev, Kimsooja, Li Juchuan, Li Binyuan, Liu Ding, Juan Pablo Macías, Taus Makhacheva, Mao Chenyu, Mao Tongqiang, Helen Mirra, Adrien Missika, Tina Modotti, Moataz Nasr, Pedro Neves Marques, Nils Norman, Uriel Orlow, Prabhakar Pachpute, Kyong Park, Gianni Pettena, Thao-Nguyen Phan, Justin Ponmany, Marjetica Potrč, Leang Seckon, Tsherin Sherpa, Karan Shrestha, Song Dong, Demetrio Stratos, Alexander Ugay, u-ra-mi-li (Iswar Srikumar & Anushka Meenakshi), Wang Sishun, Wang Wei, Penba Wangdu, WUXU Group, Xu Tan, Xu Bing, Yang Kailin, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Zai Tang, Katarina Zdjelar, Robert Zhao Renhui, Zheng Bo, Zhuang Hui


APB Foundation Signature Art Prize, venue partner National Museum of Singapore, May 25 - Sep 02 2018

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25 May – 2 September 2018

Inaugurated in 2008 by the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation and the Singapore Art Museum, the triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize returns for its fourth edition in 2018. Recognising outstanding examples of contemporary art from both emerging and established artists over the previous three years, the prize puts the spotlight on the most compelling, cogent and complex works of art from the Asia-Pacific rim to the region of Central Asia.

The APB Foundation Signature Art Prize is worth SGD 100,000, with SGD 60,000 awarded to the Grand Prize winner and SGD 15,000 each to two Jurors’ Choice Award winners. A People’s Choice Award of SGD 10,000 will also be offered to the work that receives the highest number of public votes on-site.

The 15 finalists of the 2018 installment will be announced by early 2018, and the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize finalist exhibition will take place from 25 May to 2 September 2018 at the National Museum of Singapore, venue partner for the Prize. The awards ceremony will take place on 29 June 2018.

Galeria, May 20 2018 onwards at the Factory Contemporary Art centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam  

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Selected paintings from Phan Thảo Nguyên’s haunting and alluring watercolor series ‘Voyage de Rhodes’, together with pieces from her body of sculptures ‘Your daughter is a traitor (Magical bow)’, will again grace our summer Galeria (starting from 20 May onwards). Forming part of her solo exhibition ‘Poetic Amnesia’ (showcased at The Factory 15 Apr – 2 June 2017), these works reflect Thảo Nguyên’s longtime fascination with how and why the Vietnamese language was given a Romanized script, a history the artist uses to project her imagined world, a memory re-called or entirely made anew. Dancing across the walls in the back room are Đạt Vũ’s photographs from of his ongoing project ‘Muted Conversations’ (first shown in an exhibition of the same name at The Factory 10 Aug – 15 Sept 2017). Taken during Đat’s extensive travels throughout the country, these (sur)real images show how local people, across diverse regions, perform rites and rituals in sacred spaces and in daily life; in public and in private; and how they incorporate and maintain these traditional spiritual practices in the constant flux of changes between historical heritage and new influences from contemporary life.

The Factory operates as a social enterprise, whereby all profit from sale of art and business on the property supports the running costs of its art-related programs. For more information, please contact the reception desk or call the hotline: +84 (0) 283 744 2589.

Joan Jonas and Thao-Nguyen Phan, Rolex Mentor and Protégé in Visual Arts, 2016-2017

Phan Thao Nguyen interview for Post Vidai contemporary art collection 

Phan Thao Nguyen shares her thoughts behind her works in the Post Vidai Vietnamese contemporary art collection

A Beast, a God and a Line, Para Site, Hongkong, Mar 17 - May 20, 2018  

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Opening Reception
March 16, 2018
7:00 – 9:00pm
Para Site
22/F, 6/F Wing Wah Industrial Building

Nabil Ahmed, Anida Yoeu Ali, Malala Andrialavidrazana, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Au Hoi Lam, Pablo Bartholomew, Daniel Boyd, Sarat Mala Chakma, Rashid Chowdhury, Christy Chow, Cian Dayrit, Ines Doujak, Gauri Gill, Simryn Gill, Sheela Gowda, Garima Gupta, Taloi Havini, Su Yu Hsien, Dilara Begum Jolly, Jrai Dew Collective (curated by Art Labor), Jaffa Lam, Jiun-Yang Li, Charles Lim Yi Yong, Idas Losin, Lavanya Mani, Moelyono, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Manish Nai, Sarah Naqvi, Nguyen, Trinh Thi, Jakrawal Nilthamrong, Nontawat Numbenchapol, Jimmy Ong, Etan Pavavalung, Paul Pfeiffer, Thao-Nguyen Phan, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Joydeb Roaja, Norberto Roldan, Zamthingla Ruivah, Ampannee Satoh, Chai Siris, Praneet Soi, Simon Soon (with RJ Camacho and Celestine Fadul), Truong Công Tùng, Raja Umbu, Chiara Vigo, Munem Wasif, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ming Wong, Lantian Xie, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Trevor Yeung, Tuguldur Yondonjamts

Para Site is delighted to present A beast, a god, and a line. This expansive travelling exhibition is co-produced with the Samdani Art Foundation and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and is woven through the connections and circulations of ideas across a region. This geography - arbitrary as any mapping, not least as it appears in contemporary art exhibitions - is commonly called the Asia-Pacific, but it could also be epitomised by several other definitions, which the exhibition explores and untangles. Overlapping and sometimes conflicting or barely discernible beneath the strident layers of contemporaneity, and the modern waves of destruction, these worlds are still the pillars of a region that is going through a process of replacing its colonial cartographic coordinates, a process this exhibition proudly serves. It does so by putting forward political, art historical, and aesthetic interrogations, all of them reflected in the subject matters of the exhibition, as well as in the aesthetic languages it gathers, and in the art historical narratives around the featured artists, who all belong to vastly different generations and backgrounds.

Poetic Amnesia, Rolex Art Weekend, 3-4 February 2018, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin 

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A beast, a god and a line, Feb 2-10 2018, Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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A beast, a god and a line considers Bengal's position at the core of different geographical networks, reflecting the circulation of people of the Austronesian world to the histories of globalisation beginning in the early 16th century, the exhibition unfolds in several chapters, positioning the materials histories of textiles as a central thread that carries the trace of these exchanges. This exhibition co-produced by Dhaka Art Summit, Para Site, Hong Kong and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and will also tour to TS1 Yangon in 2018.

The Life of Things, 19 Jan - 1 April 2018, Jendela Visual Arts Space, the Esplanade, Singapore

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Poetic Amnesia, solo exhibition, Dec 13-Dec 24 2017, Nha San Collective, Hanoi, Vietnam 

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Poetic Amnesia - Artist talk with Phan Thao Nguyen, 12 May 2017 

Speaker: Artist Phan Thảo Nguyên
Date: 12 May 2017

Time: 7PM – 9PM
Location: The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre
15 Nguyễn Ư Dĩ, Thảo Điền W., D.2, HCMC

‘Phan’s artistic methodology is akin to a 21st century social scientist, employing anthropological means of observation and categorization, re-shuffling the systems and symbols of culture and society into differing, at times utterly abstract, visual and textual figurations.”

At this artist talk, Phan Thao Nguyen will share with us her unique journey of exploration and creation, looking at historical sources of inspirations and the wide range of artistic media utilized for the realization of ‘Poetic Amnesia’. This talk will also see the launching of the exhibition catalogue, with high-quality printed imagery and curatorial essay by Zoe Butt.

This talk is presented in English and Vietnamese. Entrance is free.


Poetic Amnesia, solo exhibition, 15 April - 2 June, 2017, the Factory contemporary art centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

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ArtistPhan Thảo Nguyên
Curator: Zoe Butt
Exhibition date: 15 April – 2 June 2017
Location: The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre
15 Nguyễn Ư Dĩ, Thảo Điền W., D.2, HCMC, Vietnam

In Phan Thao Nguyen’s first solo exhibition in Vietnam we will see her passion for storytelling take new direction and form. Inspired by particular historical texts – such as the writings of French missionary Alexander de Rhodes as he traveled across Vietnam, or the earliest mythical tales written in the Vietnamese Romanized script by Catechist Bento Thien – Thao Nguyen weaves her own poetry using their memories as her landscape. Figures in watercolor dance across pages; symbols of love and betrayal are transformed into sculpture; while oil paint sketch scenes on x-ray film backings. In ‘Poetic Amnesia’ an imagined world is conjured, a world that may be truth or fiction, a memory re-called or entirely made anew.

The Making of an Institution — Artistic Research. Talk by Thao-Nguyen Phan (Vietnam), Artist-in-Residence

The Making of an Institution — Artistic Research. Talk by Thao-Nguyen Phan (Vietnam), Artist-in-Residence

March 1 from 7:30 to 9pm 

Studio #01-04, Block 37 Malan Road

As part of The Making of an Institution, Artist-in-Residence Thao-Nguyen Phan explores what artistic research means in the context of her practice and how it has been developing over the years. Interweaving past and recent works that engage with the history of Vietnam, she will discuss her interest in educational patterns and the power of narrative in the transmission of knowledge. She will also talk about the projects she developed with Art Labor, a collective she co-founded in 2012.

The talk will take place in the artist’s studio.

This Workshop is part of the public programme of The Making of an Institution.

Through a combination of painting, video, performance, and installation, Thao-Nguyen Phan (b. 1987, Vietnam) creates provocative artworks focusing on historical events, traditional narratives, and minor gestures that challenge common assumptions and social conventions. Recent exhibitions include Concept Context Contestation, Art and the Collective in South East Asia, Goethe Institut, Hanoi, Vietnam (2016); Haunted Thresholds: Spirituality in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Kunstverein Göttingen, Germany, (2014). Phan is also a member of the collective Art Labor.

Artist talk with Joan Jonas and Phan Thao Nguyen 12 Feb 2017 

Joan Jonas and Phan Thảo Nguyên
Date: 12 February 2017

Time: 4.00PM – 6.00PM
Location: The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre
15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien Ward, D.2, HCMC


A passionate discussion on art between Rolex Mentor Joan Jonas and Protégée Phan Thảo Nguyên to be held at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Vietnam

Internationally acclaimed, pioneering American performance and video artist Joan Jonas will share the stage with visual artist Phan Thảo Nguyên, her protégée in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, at a lecture and discussion held from 4pm, on 12 February at Ho Chi Minh City’s Factory Contemporary Arts Centre.

As part of the lecture, “Mentorship: Revealing an Artistic Practice”, Jonas will relate her experiences in a career that spans over nearly a half century and reveal her views on society in light of contemporary art. Following the lecture, Phan Thảo Nguyên, herself a multimedia artist from Ho Chi Minh City who uses painting, installation, video and performance to depict historical and contemporary concepts, will discuss her artistic interaction with the legendary Jonas over the past 10 months.

In particular, the event will highlight the creative dialogue between these two artists of different generations and cultures.

The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre is an independent art centre that creates and hosts interdisciplinary contemporary art and cultural activities in order to introduce and expand knowledge of art and cultural trends, both past and present, in Vietnam.

Joan Jonas

Described by London’s Guardian newspaper as a “titan of the American avant garde”, the internationally acclaimed, New York-based, performance and video artist Joan Jonas has made an indelible mark on the visual arts over nearly a half century – and continues to do so. Performance opened things up in the art world, says Jonas, whose pioneering works in New York’s late-1960s downtown art scene drew inspiration from a variety of artistic genres and cultures. Trained in art history and sculpture at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and at New York’s Columbia University, where she received an MFA in Sculpture in 1965, she soon abandoned her career as a sculptor and turned to the relatively unexplored area of performance and video, incorporating multimedia and featuring a variety of themes from mythological narratives to mirrors. Beginning in the late 1960s, she performed the groundbreaking Mirror Pieces that uses mirrors as a visual device. This was followed by, among other works, Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972), which explores women’s shifting roles. In the 1990s, in pieces such as the My New Theater series, Jonas moved away from a dependence on her physical presence. A major retrospective of her work, Light Time Tales, was showcased in 2014-2015 at Milan’s HangarBicocca. Her multimedia installation, They Come to Us Without a Word, evoking an ecologically challenged world, drew huge crowds to the US Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. A solo exhibition at DHC/Art in Montreal ran from April to September 2016. Winner of numerous honours, including a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Jonas taught at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and was a professor at Stuttgart’s State Academy of Art and Design and for 17 years at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where she is Professor Emerita in the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology.

Phan Thảo Nguyên

Phan Thảo Nguyên has pushed the boundaries of contemporary art in Vietnam. Through literature, philosophy and daily life, she observes ambiguous issues in social convention, history and tradition. An honours graduate from Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts in 2009, four years later Phan Thảo Nguyên received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Today, in addition to her work as a multimedia artist, she has joined forces with artist Trương Công Tùng and curator Arlette Quỳnh-Anh Trần to form Art Labor. This collective explores cross-disciplinary practices and develops art projects that will benefit the local community. Phan Thảo Nguyên is expanding her “theatrical fields”, including what she calls performance gesture and moving images, under the guidance of pioneering visual artist Joan Jonas whom she considers the “ideal mentor”. Phan Thảo Nguyên has exhibited widely in Southeast Asia.

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is a philanthropic program that was set up in 2002 to make a contribution to global culture. The program seeks out gifted young artists from all over the world and brings them together with artistic masters for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. In keeping with its tradition of supporting individual excellence, Rolex gives emerging artists time to learn, create and grow.

Over the past decade, Rolex has paired mentors and protégés in dance, film, literature, music, theatre, visual arts and – as of 2012 – architecture. In the decade since it was launched, the mentoring program has evolved into an enriching dialogue between artists of different generations, cultures and disciplines, helping ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on to the next generation. 


Residencies OPEN: Art After Dark!  13 Jan 2017, Fri 07:00 PM - 11:00 PM at Gillman Barracks, Singapore

Artist in Residency at NTU CCA Singapore, January and March 2017

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3 January – 26 January 2017

22 February – 24 March 2017


Through a combination of painting, video, performance, and installation, the artistic practice of Thao-Phan Nguyen (Vietnam) focuses on historical events, traditional narratives, and minor gestures producing a refined imaginary that challenges common assumptions and social conventions. She has the ability to condense the manifold references to history, literature, philosophy, and theory that always frame her research into subtly poetic artworks that open up news spaces for reflection. Since 2016, she is the protégé of American artist Joan Jonas within the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a programme which pairs gifted young artists with internationally recognised masters, sponsoring them to spend a year in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Her recent exhibitions include Concept Context Contestation, Art and the Collective in South East Asia, Goethe Institut, Hanoi, Vietnam (2016); Haunted Thresholds: Spirituality in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Kunstverein Göttingen, Germany, (2014). and Tâm Tã, Hanoi Fine Arts Museum, Vietnam (2014). In 2012, she founded the collective Art Labor together with artist Truong Cong Tung and curator Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran Phan.


Thao-Nguyen Phan will expand her research on the introduction of the Latin alphabet as a writing system in Vietnam, exploring how the same transition occurred in other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In Vietnam, the Romanised script was first introduced in the 17th century by catholic missionaries to spread Christianity, playing a significant role in the process of colonization of the country. While official accounts celebrate the adoption of the Latin alphabet as a symbol of modernity, the implications of this historical process are far more complex and tell stories of cultural loss and gain, national amnesia, and violence.

Embedded South(s)

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Embedded South(s)
An online moving-image exhibition
November 3–6, 2016 

Artists: Bani Abidi (Germany/Pakistan); Fernando Arias (Colombia); Kannan Arunasalam (Sri Lanka); Sammy Baloji/ Lázara Rosell Albear (DR Congo/Cuba); Tiffany Chung (Vietnam/USA); Bakary Diallo (Mali); Andrew Esiebo/Annalisa Butticci (Nigeria/The Netherlands); Shanaka Galagoda (Sri Lanka); Ayrson Heráclito (Brazil); Sasha Huber (Switzerland/Haiti); Claudia Joskowicz (Bolivia/USA); Amar Kanwar (India); Mikhail Karikis (Greece/UK); Jompet Kuswidananto (Indonesia); Dinh Q Lê (Vietnam); Giovanna Miralles (Bolivia); Nguyễn Hương Trà (Vietnam); Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai (Vietnam); Nguyễn Trinh Thi (Vietnam); David-Douglas Masamuna Ntimasiemi (DR Congo); Phan Thảo Nguyên (Vietnam); Renata Padovan (Brazil); Chulayarnnon Siriphol (Thailand); Sutthirat Supaparinya (Thailand); Kidlat Tahimik (The Philippines); Trần Lương (Vietnam); Trương Công Tùng (Vietnam); Vandy Rattana (Cambodia/Japan)

Co-curated by Zoe Butt (Executive Director and Curator, San Art, Ho Chi Minh City), Gabriela Salgado (Independent curator, London), and Lê Thuận Uyên (Independent researcher, Hanoi)

Embedded South(s) is an online moving-image exhibition examining particular cultural phenomena, within the complex social geographies of those who identify with a "south." Screened across three continents from November 3–6, 2016, with unique thematic each night, this program showcases the work of 29 artists from South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

By "south" we understand this to be a geo-political terminology that labels a particular "tropic," often economically considered "developing" and culturally suffering the trauma of coloniality. However, we also understand this "south" to be a mobile entity in its diaspora, with many "souths" now in transference within the global flows of migration (forced, voluntary, political, or economic).