Interested in the idea of landscapes as a quiet witness to history, artist Nguyen Trinh Thi collects and compilates hundreds of images in which anonymous persons are portrayed pointing towards seemingly empty locations within a landscape. Taken by innumerable Vietnamese press photographers, figures are always captured in the same position, gesturing towards the landscape to indicate a past event, the location of something gone or something lost or missing. We are left with no information about the people and their specific thoughts or feelings, only their repetitious sameness of pointing towards an “evidence” within the silent landscape.
The land bearing witness to the volatile transitions in our geo-political, cultural, and social systems questions the extent of which unsustainable and environmentally-taxing practices effect the environment. Does a landscape harbour ill-feelings towards events and circumstances that have caused it harm? And if it were to break its silence, what forgotten stories would it reveal? Rather than disregarding the land, Nguyen’s photographs suggest these environments contain a plethora of unspoken histories.
Nguyen’s works are built upon and are often generative of one another. Parallel to this presentation, two of her films, Vietnam the Movie (2015) and Fifth Cinema (2018), will be on view in The Single Screen from 28 May – 9 June and 11 – 23 June respectively. This screening is part of the Centre’s Film Screening Programme: Faces of Histories, 14 May – 17 July 2019.
Venue: The Vitrine, Block 43 Malan Road
When: 27 May - 1 Dec 2019,