2022 – The dreamer: heterotopia, tabula rasa, noble silence

More than 10 years ago, Ly Hoang Ly officially commenced her project ‘0395A.ĐC’. 2022 marks the second time she presents it in Vietnam. Vietnam – the beginning of it all, the meeting place where all thoughts are summoned. From this place – bodies have been turned away, disappearing into thin air. To this place – again and again, exiled souls have returned.

Spanning many different decades of Ly’s career, ‘0395A.ĐC’ is a multilayered living body of work – consisting of text, painting, sculpture, photography, artist book, video art, installation art, performance art, architecture and public art. From a seed of idea to now an ever-evolving project, ‘0395A.ĐC’ continues to grow alongside the artist’s ongoing inquiry into the notions of home, identity, life and death, as well as her re-telling of the epic story and continuous struggle of human (im)migration. In doing so, the project both highlights and contests the ways in which micro and personal narratives are often forgotten in the memorization and circulation of History.

In 2017, ‘0395A.ĐC’ was first launched in Saigon. This time, it ‘travels’ to Hanoi under a different name, ‘The dreamer: heterotopia, tabula rasa, noble silence’. A different self – one that showcases the accompanying artworks in a different composition, under a different light. A deviation from the original, one might say, without realizing that the original, indeed, has never existed. For every time ‘0395A.ĐC’ is shown in a new location or exhibition space, the artist would disassemble its body, reconstruct its parts, transform its essence and breathe new life into its multifaceted identity.

Continuously digging into the conceptual and contextual weight of the subjects in study, while also expanding the visual, material and experiential possibilities of both the overall project and its accompanying artworks – this way of working runs parallel with Ly’s examination of ideas of (dis)placement and rootlessness, perfectly illustrating the fluctuating and fluid nature of history and identity. Thus, one thing is for sure: if you have encountered ‘0395A.ĐC’ before (in Saigon or elsewhere), you will now once again meet with images and words that are both familiar and uncanny, transparent and opaque, concealed and revealed, memorized and forgotten. Because just like life, art must always be constantly in flux.


Organized by Manzi
Words by Bill Nguyễn