Hope this finds you well. Here are some current and upcoming events, as well as recent press. I hope to see you IRL soon!
WHITE LIGHT / BLACK NOISE
The Franklin, 3522 West Franklin Boulevard Chicago, IL, 60624
Exhibition: August 27 - September 23
EXPO Art After Hours: Friday, September 15 from 6-9PM
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 1-3PM or by appointment
Taking on the notion of the backyard as territory of negotiating difference, Huong Ngo will create a site-specific sound installation for her solo exhibition at The Franklin that examines and archives the often invisible and unspoken aspects of growing up bilingually. For the project, Ngo interviewed nine participants, who grew up in bilingual or multilingual house- holds, delving into how language is bound up in their sense of identity, belonging, perceptions of the world, and places in geopolitical histories. Ngo guides the participants through workshops using bird calls as scores for performative uses of their languages.
While the concept of white light is more familiar, black noise is the technical term for silence, but also describes a range of sounds that are just beyond human perception, thus asking what we might be missing when we are not attuned to what is not plainly visible.
For EXPO Chicago Art After Hours, THE FRANKLIN will stay open late for a bonfire and barbecue.
YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH HALF WAY
The Ski Club, 3172 North Bremen Street Milwaukee, WI, 53212
Exhibition: September 1 - 30
Closing Reception: September 30, 1-3PM
"Not a single word allowed to utter until the last station, they ask to check the baggage. You open your mouth half way. Near tears, nearly saying, I know you I know you, I have waited to see you for long this long. They check each article, question you on foreign articles, then dismiss you." —Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee
Hương Ngô makes her Milwaukee debut with the exhibition, "You open your mouth half way,” which draws from two ongoing bodies of work that examine diasporic identities, language, and matrilineal histories. The works, inflected by Ngô's archival research in France and Vietnam and her own biography, ask, “How do we remember that which is invisible or beyond language? Who benefits from our histories and the impossible, static versions of our identities?"
“The Voice is an Archive” documents a performance in which Ngô, her niece, and her sister are attempting to replicate a recording of her mother's singing. The title proposes a reimagining of something as bodily and temporal as the voice to carry the weight of history, culture, and information as an historical archive. It is also a reclaiming of the imperfect, non-fluent, and incomplete as a body of knowledge of importance and interest.
“To Name It Is To See It,” examines the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance. Works included problematize the monolithic nature of the archive and the ownership of knowledge by foregrounding the self-determination of female organizers and liaisons involved. Recently exhibited at the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, IL, the project includes two publications, one containing an essay written by Faye Gleisser, Assistant Professor of Art History at Indiana University. These publications will be available in limited quantities at The Ski Club.
AND THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IS ALSO ALWAYS A STATE OF EMERGENCE.
Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 North Carpenter Street Chicago, IL, 60607
Exhibition: October 6 - 26
Opening Reception: Friday, October 6, 2017, 6-9 pm
And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence. – Homi Bhabha, Black Skin, White Masks, Foreword to 1986 edition.
Life in a refugee camp consists of a home that is half of a four by six foot cubicle. – Donald Larson, director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, "The Hong Kong Refugee Crisis: Suggestions for U.S. Policy Makers,” 1989.
In this exhibition of new work, Hương Ngô draws from the stories of her family’s year-long stay in Hong Kong refugee camps through the eyes of her siblings, who were children at the time. This shift in perspective reorients the field of possibilities and experience of the camp, complicating clear victim or hero narratives that dominate the retelling of a refugee experience and animating Homi Bhabha’s assertion, “And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence.” Using as a formalist departure point the measurement, “a home that is half of a four by six foot cubicle,” which served as a critique of the treatment of Vietnamese refugees who were given the minimal amount of space in the camps, Ngô combines architectural sculpture with traces of her siblings’ experiences, which are at times poignant, humorous, and profound, but always expressing a full range of agency often denied to children and refugees alike.
Deftly and Defiantly Decolonial
To Name It Is To See It was reviewed by New City's B. David Harley.
Important, heart-rending, and elucidating, Huong Ngô’s “To Name It Is To See It” feels like nothing less than conceptual magic.The artist’s largest museum presentation to date, it is a show which paradoxically manages to be both freighted with import—themes as heavy as dying stars—and suffused with information but minimal in its presentation. It is approachable and democratic in its design and delivery, a light expression of unbearable being, a funeral shroud or flag. A materially rich distillation of Ngô’s research into the life of 1930s Vietnamese anti-colonial activist Nguyen Thi Minh Khai—done in France and Vietnam—the show both presents the challenges faced by Minh Khai, whipsawed by the colonial government and by the sexism of her rebellious peers, as well as echoes, via themes of spying and surveillance, colonialism and feminism, issues which continue to suffuse the global atmosphere today.
This is What Intersectional Feminist Art Looks Like
Review for To Name It Is To See It and Vessels of Geneology in the Chicago Tribune by Lori Waxman.
The Vietnamese language does not have a word for feminism.
But the country did and does have feminists, including Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, a revolutionary leader of the Indochinese Communist Party in the 1930s. Her elusive figure lurks everywhere and nowhere in "To Name It is to See It," a solo exhibition by Huong Ngo upstairs at the DePaul Art Museum.