Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba

Wednesday 9th January 2008

A retrospective of work by the Vietnam-based artist Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba is to be shown at Manchester Art Gallery from 23 February to 1 June 2008. Drawing together an outstanding selection of the artist’s work, the show will include his internationally acclaimed underwater films and will also feature a new film, The Ground, The Root, and the Air: The Passing of the Bodhi Tree and a specially commissioned new installation, The Globe Project: The Garden of Globes. The exhibition will be Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s first major UK exhibition.

Nguyen-Hatsushiba is considered to be one of the most exciting artists living and working in the Far East today. He was born in Japan, grew up in the USA and now lives in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). From dragon dances to traditional rickshaws, Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s work frequently references his Asian heritage, exploring themes of tradition, cultural identity and the fate of displaced communities. As such, his mesmerising, dream-like works inspire both simple, sensory responses and yet they are also permeated by an explicit and dark symbolism.

For example, in Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam: Towards the Complex – For the Courageous, the Curious and the Cowards (2002) local fishermen struggle to pull and push rickshaws along the seabed in a ritualistic underwater journey. This seductive, yet at times claustrophobic film depicts the struggle of the Vietnamese ‘Boat People’ and of their compatriots who chose to remain in their homeland. In Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas: Battle of Easel Point – Memorial Project Okinawa (2003/04) divers paint portraits onto canvases while underwater. In this film the difficult process of working with paints while submerged in water causes colourful explosions of inks. Although stunning, these ink explosions can also be read as a cruel metaphor for the bombing of North Vietnam by the American army in 1972.
A large-scale installation The Globe Project: The Garden of Globes (2007) has been specially commissioned for this exhibition. Further new works by Nguyen-Hatsushiba will also feature in the exhibition, including the film The Ground, The Root, and the Air: The Passing of the Bodhi Tree (2007) and a new print created for Manchester City Galleries as part of Breathing is Free: 12 756.3 (2007 onwards).

Since the mid-1990s Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba has been represented in exhibitions across the globe including solo shows at MACRO, the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, in Rome (2003), the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2004), and the Malmö Konsthall in Sweden (2005).

This retrospective was produced in collaboration with, and first exhibited at, the Museum of Art Lucerne (2007). It will be shown at Manchester Art Gallery from 23 February to 1 June 2008 with the support of the Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibition was curated by Susanne Neubauer, Museum of Art Lucerne. An accompanying catalogue is also available priced £14.95.

For further information and images, please contact Jenny Beard, Communications Manager, Manchester Art Gallery tel 0161 235 8864 or email j.beard@manchester.gov.uk

Issued 11 January 2007

Notes to Editors

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
Tel: 0161 235 8888 Fax: 0161 235 8899 Textphone: 0161 235 8893
Open Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 10am – 5pm
Closed Monday, except Bank Holidays.
Free Admission.

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba
Ed. by Susanne Neubauer, 2007
Museum of Art Lucerne; with essays by Douglas Fogle, Yukie Kamiya, Susanne Neubauer, Rich Streitmatter-Tran.
Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pp., approx. 110 illustrations in colour, German/English,
ISBN 978-3-939738-34-3