“It’s so far to expect” is Bao Chau’s first solo exhibition, curated by Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran. This is considered a milestone marking the 5-year journey of Bao Chau’s research on repetition of symbols and images. Among thousands of similarities and differences between the self, the self, the particular, the common, Bao Chau can pick up things that are both related and unrelated to put together in one work.
The living room where there is a “military rank” chair to look at the works
The exhibition is like a home tour, in which the artist is the host, taking guests (friends) around their property. This is what I still see every time my mother lets me visit a relative or friend of hers, 20 years ago. Unlike now, you can take a picture of the house, post it on Facebook or send a private message. At that time, people would invite each other to the house, lead to every corner and… explain.
Coming to this exhibition, you can sit in the living room, on a concrete chair and a plant-tanned leather mattress in the shape of the Sao military rank. Sit on what used to be a symbol of rank, power, trust, admiration, then watch TV. The kid with you will constantly change the TV channel to find what to watch today?. Advertisements interspersed with entertainment programs, documentaries… in turn appear and then disappear. On the wall, the pattern of Number 40 will probably make you admire because it’s so strange and beautiful. You can spot a hidden ornament on the wall, made of carved lacquered wood and acid-corrosive steel, and eagerly duck into the hole to get a better look at the pattern inside.
After visiting the living room, you can be led through the altar room, where there is a majestic shining star; through a somewhat complicated kitchen with a fully equipped Frankfurt kitchen; visit the bedroom Fantasies with the right space for dreams… These dreams may have gone from sound Drop by drop, transmuted through you, to Quotes on paintings.
You can see it’s the private house that the artist created, strange, confusing. But it may also be familiar with what you’ve experienced in similar homes.
Works of Stars
New definition for old concept
If it was merely a house with functional rooms as usual, there would be nothing worth mentioning. The important thing is, you have to go slowly, touching each item.
Here you will see, the landlord is a person who likes to flip the definitions.
Symbols are often as enduring and sacred as monuments. But sometimes, no, rather, through What to See Today?, we realize, in fact, we don’t look-at-the-monument every day.
What to watch today? simulates the viewer’s act of changing TV channels while sitting in front of a thin LCD screen. A TV game channel. Another entertainment channel. A TVC advertising a clean, pure white modern life. All are the embodiment of happiness, vibrant, modern; the opposite of the dark, austere things that people stop at last: a documentary about the heroic Mother Vietnam monuments.
Those monuments are sometimes broken by ourselves on a daily basis, with a single switch of the channel.
Among the existing works at the exhibition, the most impressive to the writer is Somewhat complicated – simulating a Frankfurt kitchen with cardboard. This work is based on a life-size prototype. But not one kitchen, but two. Bao Chau duplicated the sample kitchen, just like how people mass-produced Frankfurt kitchens back in the day, for mass sale. Perhaps it is the desire to “equalize” society, no one is better than anyone else, which we often call fair, democratic, civilized? However, entering it, women will turn around with the stove, sink, oven, iron… There is no way out for them.