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Saigon Independent Art Space San Art Launches Fundraising Exhibition This Month

Founded in 2007 by four artists including Dinh Q. Le, Tiffany Chung, Tuan Andrew Nguyen and Ha Thuc Phu Nam, the space is one of Saigon’s pioneer independent, non-profit and artist-initiated art platforms.

San Art recently announced its upcoming exhibition titled Opaque Signs, which features works donated by nine Vietnamese and international artists to raise funds for the organization. The organization will also introduce their newly renovated space after closing its gallery for one month in November.

Some of the artists featured in Opaque Signs include Ly Hoang Ly, a poet and a visual artist whose art has been exhibited inside and outside of Vietnam; Richard Streitmatter-Tran, a researcher, co-founder of art space Dia Project and an artist whose focus straddles different mediums including performance, new media, sculpture and painting; and Uu Dam Tran Nguyen, who juxtaposes urbanscapes and ancient Asian mythologies in one of his most recent exhibitions at Galerie Quynh.

“Though diverse in terms of forms, concepts and references, these gifts share a material element of luminosity. As store signs made of neon and LED lights proliferate across Vietnamese cities, light becomes a default symbol of pervasive commerce, of sleepless advertisement, of a permanent 'on' mode of being, perennially open to transaction,” reads the exhibition text written by Nguyen Hoang Quyen.

Photo via San Art's Facebook page.

Truong Cong Tung, hailing from Dak Lak Province and a member of the Art Labor collective, will also contribute his piece to the upcoming show. Back in April, Tung participated in the duo exhibition The Sap Still Runs at San Art with comic book artist Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine. Tung's works in The Sap Still Runs heavily employ found objects and the transformations of material residues of capital, empire and ecological history. Another Art Labor member who is also participating in Opaque Signs is Phan Thao Nguyen, who won a top Singapore art prize last year for her work 'Tropical Siesta,' in which Nguyen challenges the notion of official history with regards to the formation of quốc ngữ.

Opaque Signs will also bring in Orawan Arukak, an artist based in Bangkok and Berlin; and Dinh Q. Le, a Vietnamese-American photographer widely known for his woven photographs, through which trajectories of memories, history and identities, and the space between facts and fiction are traced. 

Viewers will also see works from Nguyen Kim To Lan, the founder of Sao La independent art collective, and Nguyen Phuong Linh, a Hanoi-based conceptual artist whose main methodology involves traveling and collecting artifacts from these social, geopolitical borders. Linh is also the co-founder of Nha San Collective in Hanoi.

Through their laboratory, residency programs, educational initiatives and workshops, San Art has cultivated a community-driven hub for critical dialogues that extends beyond normalized modes of viewing and thinking and discussions that explores less-traveled but important domains of knowledge. According to the organization's website, it has managed to keep its platform alive and vibrant thanks to donations and external funding initiatives.

Opaque Signs opens on Tuesday, December 17 at 6pm and lasts until January 22, 2020. Information regarding the show can be found through San Art's Facebook page and event.

[Top photo via San Art's Facebook page]

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