Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, The Boat People (still), 2020. Produced by Bellas Artes Projects and James Cohan, NY. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, NY
Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn / The Boat People
Sep 2 – Oct 29, 2023
Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Oldenburg, Germany

The Edith-Russ-Haus is pleased to present the video installation titled The Boat People by Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn in the Pulverturm (Powder Tower), which belongs to the former castle wall of Oldenburg and is the only remaining building of the fortifications of the city. Its history goes back to 1529, when Count Anton I (1505–1573) renewed the city’s military facilities. Since 1996, the Pulverturm has been used for cultural purposes during the summer months.

Set in an unspecified future at the precarious edge of humanity’s possible extinction, The Boat People follows a group of children led by a strong-willed and resourceful little girl, who travel the seas and collect the stories of a world they never knew through objects that survived through time.

Calling themselves The Boat People, the group finds objects amongst the ruins of human civilization, spread through the seas. They replicate objects that resonate with them in wood as a way to try and piece together a history they are trying to understand. They then burn the carvings for reasons that have long been forgotten.

The Boat People arrive in a place formerly known as Bataan and come into contact with the rich layers of intermingled histories and eras embedded in the coast. They encounter objects from a refugee crisis, a world war, and some of the earliest migrations in human history. The little girl encounters a mysterious statue head buried in the sand. They engage in a dialogue that not only explores concepts of a future and a past world through an existential lens, but also gives us a look into the reasons behind this group’s mysterious ritual of burning their beautifully hand-carved replicas.

[ . . . ]

Tamás Kaszás and Krisztián Kristof, both based in Budapest, have been working successfully for many decades both as individual artists and together as The Randomroutines. To mark the 20th anniversary of this artists’ collective, the Edith-Russ-Haus is dedicating an exhibition to them, presenting their collaboration and individual works together.

Curated by Edit Molnár & Marcel Schwierin.

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