Ngô Thành Bắc lives and works in Hanoi, VN


Ngô Thành Bắc’s Trồng Cây Chuối – Headstand (2007/22) is part of his longstanding series of performative works in public space that explore and investigate the historical and political nuances of a landscape. Trồng Cây Chuối – Headstand was first created in 2007 during the artist-initiated performance art festival The Sneaky Week, which took place in Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. Ngô visited several important monuments in Hanoi and performed headstands in front of them. The chosen monuments reflected many layers of history and included a statue of the eleventh-century emperor Lý Thái Tổ, the Buddhist religious site Hoà Phong Tower, Tonkin Palace (a leftover of French colonialism), and a statue of Vladimir Lenin, among others. This politically provocative gesture was meant to question the relevance of these lieux de mémoire [sites of memory] in everyday life, at the same time functioning as a poetic, living sculpture that responded to time and space.


Ngô Thành Bắc, Trồng Cây Chuối – Headstand, 2007/22, photograph of performance, 64 × 36 cm © Ngô Thành Bắc

Ngô considers that to be able to endure the modern, capitalist world, we humans have fallen into a deep state of amnesia that forces us to leave the past behind while hurrying toward the future. His slow, meditative performance is a way of confronting the past, making sense of the present, and reimagining the future. For the 12th Berlin Biennale, Ngô continues to visit significant sites to enact his headstand performances as a subtle intervention into complex historical remnants.

Đỗ Tường Linh


Nhà Sàn Collective – Skylines with Flying People 4, 2020, Hanoi (VN)

Nhà Sàn Collective – Inorderly Departure, 2017, Nhà Sàn Collective Art Space, Hanoi (VN)

Nhà Sàn Collective – 15+ Anniversary, 2014, The House on Mountain, Hanoi (VN)