Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi lives and works in Berlin, DE, and London, UK


Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi’s work for the 12th Berlin Biennale, This undreamt of sail is watered by the white wind of the abyss (2022), immerses the viewer in the “blue savannas of memory and imagination.”(1) The bluescreen serves as a background of a scene that contains a projection and a photograph; a boat and a hospital bed; an oxygen mask and a fire-resistant plant; thus allowing the scene to exist in any given space or time. Contemplating the intricate relationships between cinema, memory, and history, the film—codirected with Thuyền Hoa, the artist’s mother—interweaves fragments of a woman’s odyssey across the ocean on a boat from Vietnam to Thailand and then on to Germany after the American War in Vietnam by blurring the boundaries between director and performer, documentary and fiction, mythology and science fiction.


Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, This undreamt of sail is watered by the white wind of the abyss, 2022, installation view, 12th Berlin Biennale, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, 11.6.–18.9.2022, photo: Jens Franke / Art and Architecture Documentation

Echoing Édouard Glissant’s “The Open Boat”—where the boat is an abyss, a womb, a matrix—the hybrid sculpture acts as a vehicle, teleporting the viewer to both the ocean and the forest. Our eyes simultaneously behold two distinct events from the 1970s: a refugee floating underwater after liberating herself from a threatening situation on a boat in the South China Sea and a revolutionary, wounded in an American bombing, lying on an operation table in a medical clinic in the U Minh Forest.(2) Collapsing time and space, death and life, emergency and emergence, this video installation is a portal to a space where we are invited to expand our imaginary of freedom.


(1) Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation (Ann Arbor, 2010), 7.

(2) Võ An Khánh, Mobile Military Medical Clinic During The Period When The Enemy Is Defoliating, 1970, photograph.


Đỗ Tường Linh


Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Into The Violet Belly, 2022, film, color, sound, 19′28′′, film still © Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi

Installation Credits

Installation Design: Georgios Vlasios Pakalidis

Coordination: Jens Franke

Sculptures: Suad Arifagic, Viola Eickmeier (Studio Violet)

Production: Emma Barfoed, Tobias Euler, Georgios Vlasios Pakalidis, Laxlan Petras

Film Credits

Producers: Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Maria Pham
Cast: Anonymous, Anonymous, Chicken, Jellyfish

Directors: Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Thuyen Hoa

Assistant Director: Johannes Lehnen

Cinematographer: Hoang-Son Doan

Camera Assistant: Makrem Ayari

Underwater Cinematographer: Alexandra Brixy

Underwater Camera Assistant: Saskia Luft

Safety Divers: Catalin Bindu, Luciano Ellul, Marco Spinedi

Computer Graphics: Dalena Tran

Photographer: Julian Irlinger

Location Scouts: Dymar Angileri, Maria Pham, Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi
Film Editor: Liyo Gong

Sound Editor: Valentin Mazingarbe

Sound Recordist: Mads Ulriksen

Field Recordist: Francesco Fabris

Composer: Vincent Yuen Ruiz

Bass Flautist: Louise Hjorth Hansen

Cellist: Flavia Passigli

Double Bassist: Vincent Yuen Ruiz

Flautist: Elisa Azzara

Percussionists: Greta Eacott, Szymon Gąsiorek, Francesco Toninelli

Violist: Pauline Hogstrand

Viola da Gamba Player: Nicole Hogstrand

Sound Engineer (Sewing Bodies): Tommy Kamp Vestergaard

Mixing (Sewing Bodies): Jesper Nørbæk

Mastering (Sewing Bodies): Joel Krozer

Composer, Performer, Producer (song): Franziska Aigner

Poetry (Chant Chữ Chết): Quyen Nguyen-Hoang

Mixing (song): Tim Roth

Mixing (sonic composition): Enyang Urbiks

Mastering (song and sonic composition): Enyang Urbiks

Colorist: Loup Brenta

Story (One Hundred Eggs): Thich Nhat Hanh

Subtitle Translator: Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi
Proofreader and Editor: Bassem Saad

Subtitle Editor: Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi

Special thanks to Kader Attia, Marie Braad, Clémentine Coupau, Đỗ Tường Linh, Jacob Fabricius, Stefanie Hessler, Hinrik Aron Hilmarsson, May Adadol Ingawanij, Awa Konaté, Lars Bang Larsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Joshua Oppenheimer, Tryggvi Kolviður Sigtryggsson, Simon Starling, Vu Tran, Thorsten Trimpop, Senthuran Varatharajah, Mette Woller, Wong Binghao, MARITIM Antonine Hotel & Spa and ‘T Silsomhof.

Sewing Bodies is excerpted from the album Le seul salut que je connaisse; courtesy of Sensorik Verden.

Commissioned and coproduced by Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

With the support of Art Hub, Copenhagen; Blue FX Film, Oberhausen; Camescoop, Brussels; Cobalt Films, Brussels; The Outpost, Hanoi; Sàn Art, Saigon; Studio Violet, Berlin; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Yeo Workshop, Singapore


They breathe, the celestials, 2022, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin (DE)

Thinking Beyond–Moving Images for a Post-Pandemic World, 2021, The Manifattura Tabacchi, Florence (IT)
This is a Meat City, 2021, Art Hub Copenhagen, Kopenhagen (NO)

Sets and Scenarios, 2020, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (UK)
Screening Nature, 2020, Sàn Art, Saigon (VT)
A Situation Which Resists Completion, 2019, Atletika, Vilnius (LT)

What My Eyes Behold Is Simultaneous, 2019, SITE Galleries, Chicago (US)
Die Stelle des Schnitts, 2018, Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, Nürnberg (DE)

Otobong Nkanga: Crumbling Through Powdery Air, 2015, Portikus, Frankfurt/Main (DE)

Parked Like Serious Oysters: Absolventen der Städelschule, 2015, MMK – Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main (DE)