Thao Nguyen Phan work builds a multi-layered, visual, thrilling and poetical body of work which goes beyond a purely historical or political point of view and explores current questions on food security and our ecological responsibility towards agricultural environments. Through different levels of narrative and speaking simultaneously of real and imaginary worlds, she proposes alternate versions of reality.
Co-edited by Fundació Joan Miro, WIELS and Chisenhale Gallery with the support of Galerie Zink Waldkirchen, the publication Monsoon Melody features a large array of images (watercolors and stills from her films) and texts that provide a broad overview of Thao Nguyen Phan’s latest work. In addition to an interview with the artist by Hilde Teerlinck (curator and CEO of the Han Nefkens Foundation) and a contribution by Han Nefkens (writer, art collector, and founder of the Han Nefkens Foundation), the book contains the films’ subtitles as well as a collection of essays: Thomas D. Trummer (director of Kunsthaus Bregenz) explores the meeting of poetry and politics in Phan’s films; Pamela N. Corey (lecturer in South East Asian Art at SOAS University of London) discusses the narrative strategies used to produce alternative histories; and Zoë Gray (senior curator at WIELS, Brussels) looks into play as a way of delving into serious social, political, and cultural issues. An excerpt from a curatorial essay by Sam I-Shan comments upon the film Tropical Siesta, while Phan provides insight into Mute Grain and Becoming Alluvium. The book ends with a poetic appendix written by Lila Matsumoto.