The threshold between truth and fiction has always served as the starting point for artist Thao Nguyen Phan. First trained as a painter, the Vietnamese artist is best known for creating dreamlike films and installations where folklore, literature, and philosophy are interwoven with real issues pertaining her homeland.
For her latest exhibition, Phan took over Milan’s Pirelli HangarBicocca to shed light on the colonization of Vietnam and the social transformations that have transpired since. Entitled Reincarnations of Shadows, the solo exhibition reexamines history through a series of new watercolors, sculptures, films, and installations, where Phan probes into the ‘absolute truths’ taught in school, which the artist argues omits the oral traditions found in Vietnamese history. As a response, Phan turned towards the idea of using folklore, mythologies, and fairytales as a way to seek “alternatives of truth.”
Diem Phung Thi, one of Vietnam’s first modernist woman sculptors — who worked extensively between her home country and France, is also a central focus of the show, which reflects on the intergenerational relationships between women artists in post-colonial contexts. Phan also investigates the complex relationship between humans and nature, such as the exploitation of natural resources and the destruction and colonization of the surrounding landscape. “Art can have significant impact on how we perceive the living environment,” Phan previously noted.
For those looking to attend, Reincarnations of Shadows will be on view in Milan until January 14, 2024.
Via Chiese, 2
20126 Milano MI, Italy