Anh Thuy Nguyen
June 18, 2019 - June 22nd, 2019
Opening Reception: June 18, 6-9pm
Assembly Room is pleased to present Organon, a solo exhibition showcasing the most recent body of work by Anh Thuy Nguyen, curated by Banyi Huang.
In Elements of a Philosophy of Technology: On the Evolutionary History of Culture (1877), German philosopher Ernst Kapp theorizes that the evolution of culture and technology is rooted in the human instinct to produce tools, a faculty that he defines as “organ projection”. ‘Organon’, the Greek word for organ, designates both technical instruments and bodily organs, and by extension, exteriority and interiority. It assigns a sense of the organic and the sensual to machinic apparatuses, and vice versa. In fact, this charged point of contact between the body and tools can be found throughout Anh Thuy Nguyen’s sculptural work, whether in the form of prosthetic extensions, umbilical cords, or palpable bodily imprints.
In Mobile Necessity (2019), three metal panels, each equipped with handles or straps, stand at roughly human height. Just a little shorter than the average American. While the straps gesture toward a wearable, semi-functional object, the rigidness of the material resists being handled or moved. Reversed silicon molds of body parts—hips, shoulders, and mouth—caressing in their soft, fleshly qualities, seems to pull the viewer in, yet the juxtaposition between the cold, hard metal surface and bodily imprints reinforces an unnerving sense of pain and brutality.
Meet by Touch (2017-2018) circulates the sensuous underpinnings of sitting, leaning, and feeding by way of durational performance and documentation. During a whole year, Thuy and another artist exchanged imprints of their body parts through between Hanoi, Vietnam, and New York City, forming a postponed articulation of intimacy. Such vast, changing geographical distances between participating individuals are secured at a fixed length in Semiotics of Distance (2017). In it, two metal stands, each topped by a broken piece from a traditional Vietnamese aluminum platter, are attached via a silicon tube resembling an umbilical cord. Both works map out the persistent need for connection, when physical proximity is no longer a given. For the artist, consciousness always comes after the fact. Through the laborious practice of producing artifacts and relating to them through performative gestures, Nguyen attempts to map out the ghostly, ever-fluctuating after-image of the human interior.
Banyi Huang (born in Beijing) is an independent curator, writer, and designer based in New York. Graduating from Columbia’s MODA program studying art history and curatorial work, she is interested in exploring the intersection between digital media, technology, and the gendered performative body, as well as decolonizing discourses and Asian diaspora identity. She has realized curatorial projects at PRACTICE Yonkers, Assembly Room, and BRIC, and has completed curatorial internships at the Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum. She is a regular contributor to the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, ArtAsiaPacific, and OCULA magazine.
Anh Thuy Nguyen (b.1993) is a visual artist from Hanoi, Viet Nam. She earned an M.F.A in Interdisciplinary Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts (2018) and a B.A in Studio Art and English (Writing) from DePauw University (2015). Anh Thuy has exhibited at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, Sotheby's Institute of Art, BOSI Contemporary, Radiator Gallery, Chinatown Soup Gallery, The Java Project, Pfizer Factory, Trestle Gallery, Nha San Collective (Hanoi, Viet Nam) among others. Residency includes Brooklyn Art Space, Vermont Studio Center. Anh Thuy is the recipient of institutional awards for the art: Prindle Institute Prize for Exceptional Visual Art Project related to Ethics (2015) and Efroymson Fellowship Grant (2014). Anh Thuy Nguyen is based in Brooklyn, NY, where she is currently a member of Brooklyn Art Space –Trestle Projects and Adjunct Professor at Hudson County Community College (NJ).
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