Fundació Joan Miró

Fundació Joan Miró

Parc de Montjuic, s/n
08038 Barcelona
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–8pm
T +34 934 43 94 70

Tuan Andrew Nguyen: Our Ghosts Live in the Future

The Fundació Joan Miró presents the first solo show of the Vietnamese-American artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen (Saigon, 1976), the winner of the eighth Joan Miró Prize. The exhibition includes a number of Nguyen’s most important video installations, as well as a selection of his sculptures made of bombs and artillery shells used during the Vietnam War.
Born in Saigon and brought up as a refugee in the United States once the Vietnam War was over, Nguyen uses his personal experience as a guiding thread in his work. The exhibition reveals the intersection between his life and contemporary history, and so offers visitors an intimate vision of his world.
The exhibition opens with sculptures inspired by Alexander Calder’s mobiles, but with one disturbing detail: they have been created using fragments of bombs and shells leftover from the Vietnam War. These sculptural works, which at first sight might seem merely aesthetic, are also sound pieces imbued with profound symbolism that resonates with the idea of destruction and transformation.
The exhibition itinerary continues with video installations that give a voice to objects of war, such as an unexploded bomb that speaks on the basis of its identity as a destructive device. Nguyen’s audiovisual projects explore human stories and the often traumatic effects of conflicts on the people that suffer them. In a context of profound pain and suffering, however, Nguyen alludes to the curative capacity of compassion, which can come from surprising sources, such as inanimate objects.
The exhibition narrative becomes more personal as it turns to addressing the family stories of the tirailleurs sénégalais, the colonial infantry from Africa who took part in the First Indochina War. Nguyen has worked on two video installation projects that deal with these issues, interlinking accounts of family life and the tension generated by the multiple cultural identities of the descendants of these soldiers in their countries of origin after they completed their tour of duty in Vietnam.
The exhibition closes with the project We Were Lost in Our Country. In this installation on the ground floor, the geographical focus turns to Australia. In this work, which Nguyen was commissioned to produce, the artist documents the efforts of a precolonial Australian community to reclaim their legitimate rights to ancestral lands that were stripped from them. This work connects with the museum’s collection and with the legacy left by Miró, who also had a deep bond with the land of his birth.
This is not just a survey exhibition of Nguyen’s work but an immersion in his artistic vision and his commitment to social and historical issues that recur in his narrative.
The exhibition includes a work never displayed in public before, a sculpture made of re-used war materiel produced in the artist’s studio in Saigon. This work, like those presented early on in the exhibition, is inspired by Alexander Calder’s mobiles and specifically The Corcovado, a large sculpture held in the Fundació Joan Miró Collection. At both the start and the end of the exhibition, Nguyen engages in a dialogue with artists central to Western modern art who shaped the dominant artistic discourse in the twentieth century.


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