Untitled, Harder – Softer

Digital Photograph
70 x 93 cm

Fat-free Museum, Hoang Duong Cam’s latest body of work, requires viewers to engage in a kind of visual metonymy. All of the works in Fat-free Museum were not carefully contrived but created intuitively. Hoang first observed and then photographed the artworks at the Met; he then mixed well-known references from his own culture to create a series of photographs to highlight the relationships between the images. Fat-free Museum encourages viewers to actively participate in finding connections between disparate images.  The  exercise is unique to individual viewers based on their own cultural and subjective experiences. To the sophisticated art audience, works by prominent contemporary Western artists will be recognizable; to the art viewer versed in Vietnamese art history, iconic works of art by Vietnamese artists will also be discern. Hoang’s depiction of himself in Fat-free Museum does not revolve around the politics of identity. Instead, it marks the artist’s personal experience. While his presence is obvious,it is not the focus of the works. Guiding viewers through his own museum-going experience, Hoang assumes the role of a mute docent. (Quynh Pham)