Thao Nguyen Phan: Becoming Alluvium

Thao Nguyen Phan: Becoming Alluvium

LOOP Barcelona

Thao Nguyen Phan, Becoming Alluvium, 2019. Video HD, produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation in collaboration with: the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; and Chisenhale Gallery, London.

October 14, 2019
Thao Nguyen Phan
Becoming Alluvium
Recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – LOOP Video Art Award 2018, at Fundació Joan Miró for LOOP 2019
November 16, 2019–January 6, 2020
Fundació Joan Miró
Parc de Montjuic, s/n
08038 Barcelona
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As 2018 recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – LOOP Video Art Award, artist Thao Nguyen Phan will present Becoming Alluvium, an installation of video and painting at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain, this autumn within the frame of LOOP Festival 2019.

The Han Nefkens Foundation has supported the production and presentation of this new work at the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona as well as further presentations at the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels and at the Chisenhale Gallery in London.

The Vietnamese artist, Thao Nguyen Phan was selected by a judging panel chaired by Han Nefkens, Founder of the Han Nefkens Foundation, and joined by Emilio Álvarez, Founding Co-Director of LOOP Barcelona, Marko Daniel, Director of the Fundació Joan Miró, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of the Serpentine Galleries, and Barbara London, author, curator and professor.

The exhibition Becoming Alluvium is composed of two elements: a video with the same title and Perpetual Brightness, a series of Vietnamese lacquer-and-silk paintings, structured in the form of detachable folded screens. The exhibition builds on Phan’s ongoing research into the Mekong River, which runs through China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The waterway supports possibly the largest freshwater fishery in the world, as well as rice agriculture and ecosystems in its Vietnam delta. In addition to its environmental and economic significance, the Mekong River has taken on a cultural significance, inspiring an array of ritualistic, musical and artistic expressions that shape the cultures of Southeast Asian countries. Becoming Alluvium observes the environmental changes downstream due to the expansion of agriculture, overfishing and the economic migration of farmers to urban areas, with a focus on the perceptions of the impact of environmental change on nature and human lives. Through different levels of narrative perception and speaking simultaneously of real and imaginary worlds, Phan proposes alternate versions of reality, building a multi-layered, visual, thrilling and poetical body of work which goes beyond a purely historical or political point of view, exploring current questions on food security and our ecological responsibility towards agricultural environments. The video forms the final part of a trilogy. Two-channel video installation, Tropical Siesta, 2017, speaks of the dark eras of Vietnamese history where the country economically and ideologically struggled, while Mute Grain, 2019, combines video, sound painting, installation and archival material into a personal interpretation of the little-discussed 1945 famine in Vietnam. The famine took place during the Japanese occupation of French Indochina (1940–45) and is believed to have caused the death of more than two million people in the Red River Delta of North Vietnam.

Thao Nguyen Phan’s Becoming Alluvium exhibitions will be accompanied by an illustrated publication. Designed by Ok Kyung Yoon, Curated by Hilde Teerlinck, edited by the Han Nefkens Foundation, and co-edited by Fundació Joan Miro, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre and Chisenhale Gallery with the support of Galerie Zink Waldkirchen. It is published and distributed by Mousse Publishing.


The Han Nefkens Foundation is a private non-profit organization that was founded in Barcelona in 2009 by Dutch writer and patron, Han Nefkens. It aims to promote art and the artistic process, and in so doing, connects people through art, collaborating with renowned international art institutions. The Foundation’s founding values have defined it from the beginning as an innovative and forward-thinking model: a production hub that oversees and promotes contemporary creation from the very first moments until the final presentation. Positioned as a platform for artists to advance their careers, its main activity—always at the international level—is to commission works through its awards and grants.

LOOP is a platform dedicated to the study and promotion of the moving image. Founded in 2003, since its creation it offers a specialised audience a curated selection of video-related contents from challenging perspectives.

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LOOP Barcelona
October 14, 2019

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