Diane Severin Nguyen: In Her Time 黛安·塞弗林·阮: 在她的时间里
2023年 7月 29日 – 2023年 10月 15日
Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) is pleased to present Diane Severin Nguyen’s first institutional solo exhibition in Asia, In Her Time. Known for her kaleidoscopic approach to photography, film, and installation, the artist presents two new immersive installations in this exhibition. Located on the second floor of the museum, the film In Her Time is the newly commissioned work for the exhibition and the artist’s first feature-length film. Occupying the entire third floor is a wall-to-wall installation titled Are you young? It doesn’t matter., which uses programmed lights, remixed sounds from the film, and mirrored reflection to create a sophisticated “time tunnel.” Instead of a catalog, the exhibition narrative will be expanded through a fan-fiction novella by Olivia Kan-Sperling, set to be published in early 2024.
Nguyen’s artistic intervention first began at Hengdian World Studios, the largest film studio in Asia. Known for its vast architectural sets, which span a historical timeline of 5,000 years, Hengdian is a popular destination for filmmakers and tourists who wish to visualize a cohesive national history. The city itself is comprised of a large population of migrant workers who relocate to Hengdian to work as background actors, often with greater aspirations for screen time and stardom.
Riffing on neorealist conventions with subjects performing as themselves, In Her Time follows the journey of a struggling actress named Iris (Li Meixian) as she prepares for her first leading role in a historical war film set during the Nanjing Massacre of 1937. We catch glimpses of Iris from the isolation of her apartment to the generic outskirts of Hengdian City, where she rehearses lines unseen. A car takes her between soundstages and various sets – bamboo forests, a jail, and a village under siege. Confession, rehearsal, and performance are interwoven to paint a conflicted portrait of an artist who must re-enact painful events in order to express her ideal vision of the future.
Diane Severin Nguyen’s In Her Time advances her artistic practice of exploring the relationship between performative media and historical trauma. Set against the authoritarian backdrop of both nationhood and filmmaking itself, the artist questions how our capacity to fantasize about progress may be dependent on our power to resurrect the past. Integrating the nostalgic and revisionist impulses of historical reenactment, Nguyen’s film converges different temporal and spatial realities to relay the drama of finding an authentic self within a pre-determined script.
As Iris’ repetitious lines gradually slip away, they become embodied mantras caught in the circularity of historical production. In a cascading sequence of final scenes, the distinction between Iris’ desires and those of her character dissipates, as does that between victim and perpetrator, leaving the audience to question her revolutionary motives: “If I hadn’t created my own world, I would have died in someone else’s.”
上海外滩美术馆（RAM）欣悦呈现越南裔美籍艺术家黛安·塞弗林·阮（Diane Severin Nguyen）亚洲首场机构个展“在她的时间里”（In Her Time）。她以涵盖摄影、电影与装置的丰富艺术实践著称，此次展出的两组作品皆为沉浸式装置。位于美术馆二楼的展览同名影片《在她的时间里》是该展览的全新委约作品，亦是艺术家的首部长片。而占用三楼整层的新作《你年轻吗？不要紧。》（Are you young? It doesn’t matter.）则以灯光与音效营造出复杂精细的“时光隧道”，由电影原声的许多切片混剪了环境的音轨。此外，上海外滩美术馆将委约亚裔美籍新锐作家甘英（Olivia Kan-Sperling）执笔一部小说，作为展览的出版物于2024年初发行，成为展览叙事的延展。