Tiffany Chung excavates in ruins and urban waste to reveal objects: children’s shoes, window frames, tiles and the like. The artist’s excavation site, called Thủ Thiêm, is an old city quarter in Saigon (Vietnam).
The objects that Chung encounters in her archaeological research aren’t necessarily exceptional things. They are rather trivial witnesses of an everyday and bygone life, which still resonates within the objects, like the sound of a musical instrument. And so, the objects tell of the presence of the French colonial power in Indochina, just as they tell of the sentimental value of a porcelain rice bowl.
Thủ Thiêm was a lively quarter, an urban organism, which was overwritten – with a master plan, an optimistic makeover of the urban space, an exhaustive transformation which leaves nothing as it was before and tears at the social structures. This master plan which creates a type of tabula rasa and effaces history is met by the artist with a different plan: an artistic cartography which simultaneously captures the spiritual and historical dimensions of a place.
“an archaeological project for future remembrance” is the first European museum exhibition of the Vietnamese American artist Tiffany Chung.