Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, VN

 

Exploring tumultuous histories and countermemory, the work of Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn derives from extensive research and community engagement. For the 12th Berlin Biennale, Nguyễn presents My Ailing Beliefs Can Cure Your Wretched Desires (2017) and The Specter of Ancestors Becoming (2019). The first is a two-channel video that examines the relations between the mythology, political history, and unique ecosystem of Vietnam. Narrated by the last Javan rhinoceros poached in 2010 and the fifteenth-century sacred turtle whose divine sword ended Chinese rule, the story traverses Chinese colonialism and the medical practices that threaten the rhinoceros with extinction, French colonialism, and the Vietnam War. The work poses urgent questions specific to the Vietnamese context while also suggesting a decolonial ecology given the threat of environmental collapse.

 

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Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, My Ailing Belief Can Cure Your Wretched Desires, 2017, 2-channel video installation, color, 5.1 surround sound, 18′51′′, video still, courtesy James Cohan, New York © Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn

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Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, My Ailing Belief Can Cure Your Wretched Desires, 2017, 2-channel video installation, color, 5.1 surround sound, 18′51′′, video still, courtesy James Cohan, New York © Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn

Produced in collaboration with Vietnamese- Senegalese communities in Dakar and Malika, The Specter of Ancestors Becoming explores the complex aftereffects of French colonialism. Senegalese soldiers, or tirailleurs, were among the forces deployed to Indochina to suppress the Vietnamese uprising against French rule. Many of them married and had children with Vietnamese women, who returned with them to West Africa after the war. Other soldiers left their wives behind and took only their children, raising them in Senegal and depriving them of their origins. The film focuses on the lives of three such families who share a trauma that is both racial and colonial, revealing the struggle of many diasporic communities to retain cultural and intergenerational knowledge. But narrating these stories is also therapeutic and healing, both for the generation that witnessed this history and the third-culture generation seeking to make sense of its hybrid identity.

Đỗ Tường Linh

Exhibitions

Everyone Is an Artist: Cosmopolitical Exercises with Joseph Beuys, 2021, K20 – Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf (DE)

Stories of Resistance, 2021, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis (US)

A Lotus in a Sea of Fire, 2020, James Cohan Gallery, New York City (US) (solo)

Manifesta 13: Traits d’union.s, 2020, Manifesta – The European Nomadic Biennial, Marseille (FR)

Letters from Saigon to Saigon, 2018, Asia Society Museum, New York City (US) (solo)