The Factory presents ‘Singing to the Choir?’, a group exhibition by Ngọc Nâu, Trần Minh Đức and Phan Anh, three exceptional conceptual thinkers drawn to the question of belief – its systems, its rituals and community.
The English phrase ‘singing to the choir’ is used when someone is preaching a belief to someone who is already converted, and thus the speech is deemed useless. For this exhibition, the phrase has been turned into a question – and thus the artists ask the viewers – do you believe / agree / understand, with what I am trying to share?
Utilizing a broad array of mediums and materials (sculpture, video projection, installation, photography, found objects, textbooks, music etc.), Ngọc Nâu, Trần Minh Đức and Phan Anh all explore and challenge the role of belief as an institutional, historical, religious and personal practice – belief as a ‘song’ undeniably, even ominously, present in all aspects of our lives.
Together, the three artists question what lies at the foundation of belief; what gives belief such power that it’s then (ironically) turned into an object of obsession and materialistic investment; how humanity will often assume that the collective good/decision/way is deemed the most just and right. Through their personal stories of relation, each of the artists propose an alternative to social assumption: Trần Minh Đức looks at the experience and meaning of ideological conformism; Phan Anh constructs an independent way of living, past the need for collective identification; while Ngọc Nâu tackles the transference of knowledge between traditional (physical) and technological (virtual) prisms of spiritual life.
*Image: Ngọc Nâu. Work in progress for ‘Singing to the Choir?’. Photography collage. Courtesy of the artist.