Not for show in Vietnam

“Not for show in Vietnam” is a site-specific installation that was on display at Vincom Center for Contemporary Art (VCCA) in Hanoi, Vietnam from May to June 2021.

Just days before the opening of the PhotoHanoi 21 exhibition, the Vietnamese government censored my entire selection of artworks. Since censorship in Vietnam usually comes without apparent reasons, I had no idea how to adjust my selection to meet the government’s demands.

In response to the censorship and to avoid having blank walls for the duration of the show, I continued to set up my assigned walls and lightings as though all of my images were to be displayed.

Every censored artwork is traced to its exact measurements in black paint. Remnants created during the installation process, such as pencil markings, hanging nails, TV racks, and electrical wires are left exposed, and carefully arranged to chronicle the labor of setting up an exhibition and the disappointment of not having them presented. The setup perplexed the onlookers as to what might have been on display.

As more people came to enjoy other artists’ artworks, these blank walls with spotlighting had unexpectedly become a favorite area for exhibition visitors to capture Instagram photos and produce TikTok video clips.