November 18, 2006 - Saigon Open City - FIRST CHAPTER: LIBERATION: 26 Nov 2006 – 31 Jan 2007
November 18, 2006

FIRST CHAPTER: LIBERATION: 26 Nov 2006 – 31 Jan 2007

Celebrating Ho Chi Minhs birthday in Dien Bien Phu,
Huy Toan, oil on canvas, 2002


26 Nov 2006-31 Jan 2007

3A Ton Duc Thang Street
Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 84 8 9129337
Fax: 84 8 9103277

info [​at​]

Saigon Open City is pleased to present its first international show entitled Liberation. Curated by Thai curator Gridthiya Gaweewong and Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, the project is being conceived of in three chapters and will run for a two-year period. With a series of large-scale exhibitions and a rich program of accompanying events, the first chapter focuses on social reality as portrayed through the daily life of Vietnamese people during the Liberation period from 1946 to the present. It looks at how social reality was addressed by local and international artistic practices, and at how the Liberation theme, then and today, resonates locally as well as globally.

Three generations of artists from Vietnam and its Diaspora will be showcased together with a broad range of internationally renowned artists from the surrounding region and abroad. In venues across the city, Veteran Vietnamese artists of the Resistance Class are shown alongside young emerging artists experimenting in contemporary media, methods still relatively new to the countrys art community. The juxtapositions allow the work of different periods to enter a dialogue with each other, providing the audience with an opportunity to visualize how different artistic approaches negotiate and reflect the condition of society. Many of the international artists are showing in Vietnam for the first time, and the project presents a landmark on the countrys contemporary art scene.

Saigon, renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975, is the Southern commercial and cultural center of the rapidly transforming Vietnam. Saigon Open City, a metaphor for the potential of a city just opened to the world, is serving as a forum for artists and professionals working in the field to interact and exchange ideas. The first chapter of the project uses four of Saigons existing institutions as exhibition venues, the War Remnants Museum, the Southern Women Museum, Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum and the memorial Ton Duc Thang Museum. By showing contemporary artwork alongside the permanent displays, the exhibitions takes place close to the everyday life of the city and its people. Alongside the exhibitions, a salon display will contextualise the work and provide a reference library. With its long-term commitment, Saigon Open City acts as an opportunity to stimulate Vietnams arts infrastructure and organizational processes, and to develop more critical art audiences in the country. Its second chapter will focus on unification, and the third chapter on the (re)construction of contemporary Vietnam.

Participating artists include: Bang Lam, Chinh Le, Co Tan Long Chau, Dang Tran Son, Dao Anh Khan, Dao Minh Tri, Dinh Q. Le, Do Hien, Do Thi Ninh, Doanh Than, Duong Sen, Giang Khich, Hoang Duong Cam, Hoang Tram, Huy Toan, Huynh Thi Kim Tien, Le Duc Hai, Le Ngoc Thanh, Le Quy Tong, Le Thanh Tru, Le Vinh, Le Vu, Ly Hoang Ly, Nguyen Dang Khoat, Nguyen Manh Hung, Nguyen Quang Huy, Nguyen Sien, Pham Do Dong, Pham Minh Sau, Pham Ngoc Doanh, Phan Huu Tien, Quach Phong, Thanh Chau, Tran Hoang Son, Tran Luong, Truong Tan (Vietnam), Jun Nguyen Hatsushiba (Vietnam/Japan), Sue Hadju (Australia), Henning Christiansen, Ursula Reuter Christiansen (Denmark), Guy Debord, Christelle Lheureux, Chris Marker (France), Jean-Luc Godard (France/Switzerland), Thomas Bayrle, Joseph Beuys (Germany), Nindityo Adipurnomo (Indonesia), Yoko Ono (Japan/USA), Nur Hanim Mohammad Khairuddin (Malaysia), Po Po (Myanmar), Mella Jarsma (Netherlands/Indonesia), Chumpol Apisuk, Montien Boonma, Kamol Phaosavasdi (Thailand), Liam Gillick (UK), John Giorno, Martha Rosler, Nancy Spero, Mary Stevenson (USA), and others to be confirmed.

Gridthiya Gaweewong has curated a number of international exhibitions in major art centers such as Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, Barcelona, Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and has provided an important contribution to the development of Thai contemporary art. Rirkrit Tiravanija has exhibited widely, and in 2004 received the Hugo Boss Prize for his profound contributions in art. In 2003, he co-curated the exhibition Utopia Station for the 50th Venice Biennial. Guest curator for Yoko Onos work is David Ross, former director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Saigon Open City is funded by the Ford Foundation, American Center Foundation, The Vietnamese Foundation for the Art and the Video Data Bank.

Saigon Open City
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