The solo show titled ‘Through the looking glass’ by Hanoi-based visual artist Nguyen Tran Nam to be displayed at Manzi Art Space in Hanoi from March 16 to April 9 will bring both pure fantasies and unreal chronicles.

The preparation for the visual art installation by Nguyen Tran Nam at Manzi Art Space

Consisting of a stop motion film, a few sketches and a series of found objects, the exhibition questions the relationship between human belief, power and violence, and between loss and oblivion.

According to the organizers, in the works on display at Manzi, the film – the only moving element of the exhibition – is composed of pure fantasies and unreal chronicles, like an aimless journey through an unknown tunnel with various exits.

“The film that was screened by Nam leaves us disoriented in the shattered imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of faith and violence, a phantasmagoric hybrid between ‘Alice in Wonderland” and Dante’s ‘Inferno’,” they stated.

The other parts of the exhibition feature left-over elements that were used in making the film and its motions.

They are the paper sheets revealing the figures and traces of the drawing process; the bone fragments collected by chance around the walls of Hue Imperial Citadel; and The Landolt C chart, developed by the Swiss-born ophthalmologist Edmund Landolt for vision testing that can readily be found in any ophthalmology clinic in Vietnam, among others.

The artwork titled The Ugliest Man (2017, Lacquer on wood) by Nguyen Tran Nam. Photo: Factory Art Centre 

Born in 1979, Nguyen Tran Nam is considered one of the second-wave contemporary artists in Hanoi closely associated with Nha San Studio (now re-named Nha San Collective) – one of the first artist-led experimental art spaces of Northern Vietnam. Creating a parallel world unbound by truth, time or place, ‘Through the looking glass’ can be seen as a change in Nam’s artistic practice, leading to a new phase in his creative path, according to Manzi’s curators.

‘Through the looking glass’ is the artist’s third solo exhibition with Manzi, following ‘Undone’ in 2017 and ‘The broken chapters’ in 2013.

The exhibition is opened to the public with free admission. However, in light of the current coronavirus developments, the exhibitor urged their visitor to wear facemask, scan QR code and use the hand sanitizer provided at the door. Also, only 10 people are allowed at a time for each visit.