Lehmann Maupin would like to announce an exhibition of recent work by Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba. This will be Nguyen-Hatsushiba's first solo exhibition in New York. The artist's films, which are shot underwater, explore and redefine two countries, Japan and Vietnam. Born to a Japanese mother and Vietnamese father, Nguyen-Hatsushiba utilizes symbolism to suggest the struggles and most importantly the determination of each country's people. The underwater setting of his films refers to the countries' geographical relationship to water and local folklore.
The installation "Memorial Project Minamata: Neither Either nor Neither - A Love Story" is comprised of scenes both in and out of the water, each a key component in this complex piece. Clips of orange smoke disrupt a shot of children playing and then a haunting "dance" takes place in an underwater dream world suspended within an unwieldy and collapsible sphere. A young woman lies in a small room outside of mosquito netting and next a dizzying scene of a dance club with loud Techno music appears inter cut with animated shots from underwater. This was the artist's most difficult film shoot to date because cooperation between the divers was crucial in creating the slow continuous motion.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas: Battle of Easel Point - Memorial Project Okinawa" references an American military base with strategic access to Southeast Asia. In this film, divers go underwater carrying easels and armed with paint to participate in a painting "battle." Commenting on the representation and interpretation of war, the divers in this film struggle to create portraits of Hollywood actors who starred in glamorized films about the Vietnam War, but there are no winners and the futile mission cannot be completed.
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Tokyo in 1968. He earned an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art after receiving his B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in Rome and the Kunsthalle Wien in Austria. His work has been included in numerous biennials, including the Shanghai Biennale, the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial and the Sao Paolo Biennale. He currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.