Hương Ngô: Reap the Whirlwind

Hương Ngô, Reap the Whirlwind, Installation View, Aspect/Ratio, 2019. Photo by Tom Van Enyde.

This article was originally published by Fabrik in February 2018.

In Hương Ngô’s latest exhibition, Reap The Whirlwind, the artist samples archival documents, vintage pulp novels, film sequences and historic postcards to recover representations of Indochinese women. Using distinct material reproduction techniques, Ngô questions the politics of the viewers’ access. Ngô’s female protagonists include Nguyên Thi Minh Khai (1910-1941), an historic revolutionary whose letters appear in framed facsimile on the gallery wall. Although originally written in French, Ngô laser-cuts her own handwritten English translations in the margins of the documents, demonstrating the relationship between archive and artistic discovery. In these notes, Khai pledges herself to the communist revolution over any suitor and admits to the danger of surveillance by authorities “that makes it impossible to correspond freely.”