Porcelain Medals and Jackfruit Grenades – The American War in Vietnam examined through the art of Bui Cong KhanhBui Cong Khanh
08 Nov, 2018 - 11 Jan, 2019 | 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

10 Chancery Lane Gallery is proud to present internationally acclaimed Vietnamese artist in Porcelain Medals and Jackfruit Grenades: The American War in Vietnam examined through the art of Bui Cong Khanh. This special exhibition has been planned for Hong Kong Art Week 2018.

 

The Vietnam War, as Vietnam’s Second Indochina War is labelled in the West, ended more than two generations ago in 1975. Reaching far beyond Asia, it defined Cold-War geopolitics of the second half of the twentieth century. The conflict has frequently been examined from a non-Vietnamese perspective, and in Vietnam the war’s official evaluation is coloured by national ideology. Indeed, foreigners visiting Hanoi and Saigon today often remark that locals seem unconcerned by the conflict, its history oddly erased from memory. Yet if the topic is still politically-loaded in Vietnam, so making it difficult to discuss inside the country, many Vietnamese have thoughts about the war and its implications, which persist today.

 

Multimedia artist Bui Cong Khanh, who was born and grew up in Danang south of the 17th parallel that marked the North-South Demarcation Line before 1975, and whose father was called-up by the South Vietnamese Army, in this new body of work Porcelain Medals and Jackfruit Grenades: The American War in Vietnam examined through the art of Bui Cong Khanh, considers the paradoxes and strains in Vietnam today resulting directly and indirectly from the civil war and its aftermath. From Central Vietnam, and a toddler at war's end, Khanh endorses neither the north’s nor south’s wartime position, and rather, in his art, trains a critical and pan-Vietnam lens on continuing tensions between north and south predicated on many factors, particularly the 1956-1975 civil conflict. Bui Cong Khanh, deeply interested in Vietnamese culture, deploys an artistic practice reliant on Vietnam’s two-millennia cultural heritage, which he uses to critical and aesthetic advantage in his thoughtful installations, performances, and videos. A Vietnamese citizen, Bui Cong Khanh sees no contradiction between loving Vietnam and its culture, and adopting a nuanced approach to recent history, a thought-process that comes to conceptual and aesthetic fruition in this exhibition.

 

Porcelain Medals and Jackfruit Grenades The American War in Vietnam examined through the art of Bui Cong Khanh, at 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong, is a new commission curated by Southeast Asian art specialist Iola Lenzi. The show is presented as an integrative domestic room installation that includes monumental and exquisite works in porcelain, produced in the ancient North Vietnam imperial kilns of Bat Trang, and intricately carved jackfruit, a precious timber indigenous to Vietnam. Ambitiously-scaled painted porcelain vases, inventive porcelain combat medals, elegantly-carved jackfruit tables, chairs and traditional screens, and a space-commanding Ancestor Altar, are the components of this immersive exhibition.    

 

 

About the Artist

 

Bui Cong Khanh (Danang, b. 1972) is a Hoian-based Vietnamese artist whose visually and conceptually-sophisticated practice ponders social issues in Vietnam today. Khanh uses local Vietnamese materials such as ceramics, textile, and carved timber as covert clues to critical significance. His work is in major public collections in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States.  

 

About the Curator

 

Iola Lenzi is a Singapore-based specialist of Southeast Asian socially-engaged art who has curated numerous institutional exhibitions in Asia and Europe. She is well-published, and teaches graduate-level Southeast Asian contemporary art history in Singapore.