Tiffany Chung: 'Archaeology for Future Remembrance'

September 8 – October 22, 2022

Davidson Gallery is honored to present two concurrent solo exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artist Tiffany Chung. The exhibitions will be featured on Davidson Gallery’s two floors and will continue Chung’s sociopolitical and environmental explorations into the lattice-work relationships between humankind, the lived landscape, and the natural world. Titled Terra Rouge: Circles, Traces of Time, Rebellious Solitude, the first of the two shows features all new cartographic drawings and paintings on vellum. Terra Rouge focuses on the Bình Long–Phước Long plateau region (present day Bình Phước province) in southwest Việt Nam, on the border with Cambodia. The history of the area is ramose: it was the site of some of the most violent fighting of the 1972 Easter Offensive during the Vietnam War, it is where some of the first rubber plantations were built by French colonialists at the end of nineteenth century, and is home to archaeological discoveries of Neolithic circular earthworks. It is these excavated sites, dating from 2300-300 BCE, that serve as the catalyst and subject matter for Chung’s new series, creating a visual reference but also a mystery to be investigated. The civilization that existed there for nearly 2000 years was ultimately abandoned. Chung explores how the populace lived, why they left, and what could have happened if they
had stayed.

In a separate but connected exhibition, the tenth-floor gallery will feature Archaeology for Future Remembrance, an extant but continuous series of work that delves into Chung’s work around the Thủ Thiêm district of Sài G n (Ho Chi Minh City). Thủ Thiêm was a residential zone that was razed by the Vietnamese government beginning officially in 2002, displacing tens of thousands of its denizens in favor of a sprawling master-planned urban development project. In an effort to preserve the memory of the original site and its people after a prolonged and violent eviction, Chung excavated the site, unearthing evidence of life: fragments of buildings, shoes, and household items. Additionally, the artist has added her own drawings, video, and an accompanying series of twenty-six glass plates etched with text referencing the seemingly inexorability of progress and reclaiming land that is labeled “wasteland” all under the guise of colonialism and nation-building alike.

Both exhibitions wrestle with notions of nation-building, modernization, and expansion as inevitable even as the concepts wholly ignore the personal and the historical. Set against the backdrop of the ever-changing skyline of New York City – itself reclaimed land – Archaeology for Future Remembrance argues that Vietnam’s treatment of its own people in Thủ Thiêm echoes the dehumanizing and marginalizing mindsets of its own colonial occupiers. Meanwhile, the maps of circular earthworks in Terra Rouge: Circles, Traces of Time, Rebellious Solitude suggest a quieter but clearly legible look at how ancient
communities may have suffered similar fates to modern ones, positing possible reasons for abandoning the site while also scouring the evidence for possible ways to change our own mistakes while also avoiding the ones made over 2000 years ago.

Tiffany Chung is a Mellon Arts & Practitioner Fellow at RITM, Yale University (2021). She was a finalist for the Vera List Center Prize and named Jane Lombard Fellow for Art & Social Justice (2018-2020). Chung has been a recipient of other awards, including Asia Arts Game, Changer Award India by Asia Society (2020); Asian Cultural Council Grant (2015); Sharjah Biennial Artist Prize for Exceptional Contribution (2013). She is a co-founder of Sàn Art, an independent art space in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Chung holds an MFA from University of California, Santa Barbara (2000) and a BFA from California State University, Long Beach (1998). Chung has exhibited at museums and biennials worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art (NY), Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC), Louisiana MoMA (Denmark), SchirnKunsthalle Frankfurt (Germany), Nobel Peace Center (Norway), Venice Biennale (Italy), Sharjah Biennale (UAE), Biennial de Cuenca (Ecuador), Sydney Biennale (Australia), Statens Museum for Kunst (Denmark), EVA International–Ireland’s Biennial, Centre de Cultura Conteporània de Barcelona (Spain), 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Japan), among other venues. Public collections include Smithsonian American Art Museum, British Museum, Louisiana MoMA, SFMoMA, Minneapolis Institute of Art, M+ Museum, Queensland Art Gallery, Singapore Art Museum and others. This is Chung’s first exhibition with Davidson Gallery.

These exhibitions are presented in collaboration with Tyler Rollins Fine Art.