Past Exhibitions

Seamline – Bui Cong Khanh

Shir Meller-Yamaguchi

Bui Cong Khanh, a multidisciplinary artist who gained international recognition in the 1990s, explores the fraught and complex history of his homeland, Vietnam. Using traditional techniques and motifs, he introduces in his artworks unsettling questions about the contemporary situation. This exhibition features works in different mediums – ceramics, video, and installation – which hold a reminder to the danger that has not passed yet.
Seamline is a transient tent, an ambiguous structure composed of rectangular pieces of fabric originating in military camouflage and the red robes of Buddhist monks. The clothes were set free from their originally clashing identities of a monk and a soldier, and were sewn together to create a structure that holds the echoes of the violent struggles and bloody battles that tore Vietnam apart, along with the Buddhist way, which sanctifies life as the upmost value.
The viewers are invited to take an active part in the installation by placing notes with their prayers and wishes in one of the tent’s pockets, like in the Western Wall. Afterwards, they can stay in the tent and reflect on the relationship between faith and fear, which coincide in us. The tent conflates the uniforms of seemingly different mechanisms and power systems– religion and military, raising questions about their role and actual ability to protect one’s physical security and spiritual wellbeing .
Another sculptural piece, White Labyrinth, brings to mind a war-torn city in ruins. The collapsing walls are pierced by bullet holes, and the city has become a dead-end. The work shifts along its axis, projected as a video, magnifying the sense of helplessness in the face of the never-ending war, which erupts each time in a different place. The war’s catastrophic outcomes are still felt in Vietnam, just as they are in Israel and its neighbors. The bombarded city was once bustling with people, and has turned into a labyrinth in which people are lost. Like a piece of a rootless land, severed from the ground, floating in space, a silent witness.
Shir Meller-Yamaguchi

The works in the exhibition were created as part of an artist’s residency at Oranim Academic College Art Institute and with the kind support of the Israel Lottery Council for Culture & Arts.