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Nhan Duc Nguyen, detail from a mountain of fruit and flowers (2008), foam core with fruit and flowers [Open Space Arts Society, Victoria BC, Oct 17-Nov 8]

Nhan Duc Nguyen:
Lao Oi, Lao A (O Ancient One)

Open Space
Victoria BC – Oct 11–Nov 8, 2008


Nguyen (left) instructing participants how to make origami boats at Open Space, 2008.

Automatic Writing

Nhan Duc Nguyen, automatic drawing with colored pencils on paper, 2008.

Open Space is hosting a major interactive event entitled Lao Oi, Lao A (O Ancient One) by Vietnamese-born Canadian artist Nhan Duc Nguyen. The sixmonth project began with Nguyen's April 2008 residency in Victoria and culminates in October with a major installation, a public discussion and a documentary publication that complements the Citizenship Week aspect of British Columbia's 150th Anniversary celebrations. The installation opens October 17 and is followed by an artist's talk October 18 titled “You are what you eat.”

Nguyen is a Vancouver-based artist whose works have been exhibited at the Glenbow Museum, Museum of Art in San Jose, not-for-profit art centres, and in such non-traditional art spaces as restaurants, churches and cemeteries in North America and Europe. His heavily conceptual and participatory installation Lao Oi, Lao A (O Ancient One) is based on Vietnamese shrines to Lao Noi Kieu. Nguyen explains, “Altars to Lao Noi Kieu are erected by organizations and individuals to petition for resolution and harmony in matters pertaining to the health and welfare of the state and its citizens.”

The artist has invited Victorians of all cultures and generations to participate by providing Victoria memorabilia such as souvenirs, pins, buttons, pamphlets and curios; by writing an essay, letter to the editor, a poem or paragraph about Victoria; by making origami decorations for the show; or by sending a passport-sized photo to be used in one of Nhan's art works that resembles a strand of DNA. The installation will feature an edible 'core sample' made of fruits, nuts, and other ingredients solicited by the artist, which will be served at teas during the exhibition.


Mia Johnson

 Fri, Sep 5, 2008