Williamsburg Bridges Vietnam is one of a series of art exhibitions and performances by Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, and Vietnam associated artists hosted by the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center and sponsored in part by the Asian Cultural Council. Organized by Kim Tran, an American artist of Vietnamese origin and Tran Luong a Vietnamese artist, the exhibition offers a glimpse into current developments in art in Vietnam and contemporary art by Vietnamese-Americans. The series follows in the footsteps of recent visits by visual and performing Vietnamese artists hosted by the Dance Theater Workshop. Seven Vietnamese artists will travel to New York to continue the cultural exchange and make site specific installations and performance work for these exhibitions occurring during March and April 2003.
Included on the 2nd floor of the WAH Center are painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video and performance works by Dinh Gia Le, Kim Ngoc, Nguyen Le Vu, Nguyen Minh Phuoc, Nguyen Viet Tu, Tran Hung and Tran Luong, a painter, installation and performance artist whose work centers around his associations with water. Tran Luong had his first solo exhibition in New York at Art in General in 1999. He currently directs a contemporary art center in Hanoi, and was part of the Cultural Organizers project sponsored by the Dance Theater Workshop in December. An-My Le, a photographer for whom the subject of Vietnam, more specifically the Vietnam of the mind, has been the focus of her work for some time, returned there in 1994 for the first time since the end of the war for an extended photographic project. In 1999 she became interested in finding a way to incorporate popular imagery of the Vietnam War into her work. Part of this work was recently hung at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center.
An Pham, a sculptor and painter, integrates camouflage into his comments on war strategies in two oil paintings of chessboard imagery, one western and one Chinese. Kim Tran is a sculptor whose work historically incorporated found and used objects. His recent work transmutes the Vietnamese cultural tradition of making images with broken ceramics in Buddhist temple walls into a contemporary art medium. An example is his 10 meter cube Skyspace created in spring 2002 on the banks of the Perfume River in Hue, Central Vietnam. Using broken ceramic tiles and colored grout to alternately delineate or distort the underlying grid, Tran's wall pieces invite the viewer to associate landscapes, aerial views, maps and archeological finds. Khanh Vo is a sculptor who explores the fragility of comfort and belonging through themes which include the rebuilding of community, issues of membership, traumatic memory and the underlying experience of loss informed by his perpetual consciousness of the Vietnam War.
David Thomas, an American artist well known for his Ho Chi Minh project exhibits 50 of the paintings in the 1st floor gallery.
Simultaneous exhibitions will take place at Williamsburg galleries, The Cave: Tran Luong (solo exhibition) and Sideshow: Finnish artist Maritta Nurmi who resides in Hanoi.