Salt

2009

These bodies of works partly belong to ‘Salt‘ – solo exhibition by Nguyen Phuong Linh at Galerie Quynh. Salt comprises a suite of site-specific sculptures, an installation of stylized flowers created with over 700 articles of used clothing as well as photographs and a documentary video. The exhibition is the result of months of research conducted by the artist in the salt villages in Vietnam, from Hai Hau in the north to Sa Huynh in the central and Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Can Gio in the south. The exhibition, however, is not simply a documentary or a tribute to the salt communities; Salt reflects Nguyen Phuong Linh’s continued interest in sexuality and femininity, transformation and the ephemeral.

Boat: Solidly constructed from 3 tons of salt, this quiet, elegant sculpture appears stranded but also suggests a latent dynamism and movement. Reminiscent of fish or collected grains of rice, it is a monument to the women and children who remain to work on the salt fields in the north, as the men and young boys are sent to work afar – a vessel for life sustenance.

Flowers: Collected from workers of various labor industries, from salt workers to ‘xe ôm’ drivers to rice farmers and factory workers, but also from everyday people, Linh has carefully folded and arranged each article into stylized flowers that adhere the fabrics to one another just as dirt, sweat, and salt intertwine those of people’s lives. Salt is a natural element that constitutes our body and makes our clothes look like salty Flowers. The artist reminds us of our shared humanity.

Untitled: These intimate photographs present abstracted details of the salt fields. With no visible figures to narrate, the images of salt can be appreciated in their varied forms and shapes during the processes of crystallization and erosion.