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Defty 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.

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