Sponsored by the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism, the Practice Conversations pair our professors with faculty in SAIC’s art and design departments. Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art History Nora Annesley Taylor speaks with artist Hương Ngô (Contemporary Practices) about language and translation in her recent work.
Hương Ngô (Huong Ngo, Ngô Ngọc Hương, 吳玉香) is an interdisciplinary artist born in Hong Kong, often working between France and Vietnam, and currently based in Chicago where she is an Assistant Professor in Contemporary Practices at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Having grown up as a refugee in the American South, Ngô creates work that reframes the hybrid, the imperfect, and the non-fluent as sites of survival. She engages histories of migration through material artifacts that reveal practices of resilience and resistance. Her work traces nuanced paths of struggle that appear in territories of language, the production of knowledge, and state narratives. Both archeological and futuristic, her work operates in layers, continuously making and unmaking an unruly archive.
Beginning her studies in the sciences, she received her BFA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2001) and continued in Art & Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA, 2004). Her archive-based practice began while a studio fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2012. She was recently awarded the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant in Vietnam (2016) to realize a project, begun at the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in France, recently exhibited at DePaul Art Museum (2017), and continued through the Camargo Core Program (2018), that examines the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance vis-à-vis the activities of female organizers and liaisons. Her work, described as “deftly and defiantly decolonial” by New City and “what intersectional feminist art looks like” by the Chicago Tribune, has exhibited at the MoMA, MCA Chicago, Nhà Sàn Collective, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, and Para Site, and supported by 3Arts, Chicago Artists Coalition, DCASE, and Sàn Art, among others.
Nora Annesley Taylor is the Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art (Hawaii 2004 and 2nd edition Singapore 2009), co-editor of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art: An Anthology (Cornell SEAP 2012) as well as numerous essays on Modern and Contemporary Vietnamese and Southeast Asian Art. She was a 2013 recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Antennae titled "Uncontainable Natures: Southeast Asian Ecologies and Visual Cultures" Summer 2021.
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