After the Cataclysm, Before the Storm
Alvin Luong in collaboration with Vicky Đỗ and Đoàn Thanh Toàn
April 1 - 27, 2023
Presented at Whippersnapper Gallery
594 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON
Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 3-7pm
Opening reception: Saturday, April 1, 1-4pm
After the Cataclysm, Before the Storm is an intimate reflection on losing place and becoming placeless. The efforts of this inquiry are focused on Vietnam where history moves at a rapid cadence. Within the period of one lifetime the country has convulsed from divisive wars for liberation from French to American occupations, communist reunification and a transition to a capitalist market economy. Each transformation of Vietnam has created a place for many and has dialectically rendered many others placeless, both within the country and beyond its borders. In the future, major parts of Vietnam’s most populated cities, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the areas around these cities are projected to be underwater as sea levels rise due to climate change. The works in this project consider being placeless from these past and upcoming upheavals.
The project took its initial formation in late 2019 when I was living with my family in the rural outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. The land was a former battlefield and a radical commune that produced agitation propaganda against French occupation. It also served as a training ground for guerillas resisting American forces. I witnessed daily flooding on this land which grows in severity year-after-year. War and revolution made my parents refugees and I worry that climate change could render the rest of the family in Vietnam refugees too. These thoughts grew into conversations with Annie Wong, Curator of Programming and Public Engagement at Gallery TPW, who shares a similar history of being placeless from Vietnam. These conversations resulted in my residency with Gallery TPW where this project was developed.
The title of this project, After the Cataclysm, Before the Storm, points towards the present moment where the tumultuous history of Vietnam seems as observable as the country’s future in the wake of climate change. To expand the vantage point offered in the present, I have invited filmmaker Vicky Đỗ and dance choreographer Đoàn Thanh Toàn to create new artworks, as well as the curator Đỗ Tường Linh to write a new text to reflect on this project.
- Alvin Luong
Đỗ Tường Linh
After the Cataclysm, Before the Storm is an offsite project presented in partnership with Whippersnapper Gallery. The exhibition encompasses the cumulative research project by Gallery TPW’s 2022-2023 artist-in-residence, Alvin Luong.
Photo documentation by Henry Chan and Alvin Luong (2023)
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Whippersnapper Gallery and with funding from the Ontario Arts Council.
Alvin Luong, Conscription Pictures, mixed media, 2022.
Thursday, April 27th, 7- 9pm
Join us for the closing of After the Cataclysm, Before the Storm with a night screening of the featured videos. Light snacks will be served.
Saturday, April 8th and 22nd, 5-7pm
These closed sessions convene a group of artists from the Chinese-Vietnamese and Vietnamese diasporas in Toronto for an intimate sharing of artistic research and methodologies. The group includes Steven Beckly, Alex Hong, Jon McCurley, and Jennifer Su.
The gallery will be closed to the public during the program.
Alvin Luong (梁超洪) works with stories of human migration, land, and dialogues from diasporic working class communities to create artworks that reflect upon historical development and its intimate effects on the lives of people. Luong has shown and screened artworks at the Images Festival (Toronto), Boers-Li Gallery (Beijing), Gudskul (Jakarta), and The Polygon Gallery (Vancouver). The artist has held research and resident artist appointments at the Inside-Out Art Museum (Beijing), HB Station Contemporary Art Research Center (Guangzhou), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto).
Vicky Do (b.1990), graduated from Texas Tech University, going on to complete an MFA in Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. Her mentors include: filmmaker Shannon Walsh, artists Linda Lai, Samson Young, Zheng Bo amongst others. She studied broadcast journalism, and has been trained at PBS-KTTZ in Lubbock Texas before moving to Hong Kong. She worked in Hong Kong as a researcher and an independent artist. Her work focuses on the displacement of people, the politics of urban planning and archival practices. She has her works screened and exhibitions at the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival, Urban Nomad Film Festival (Taipei, Taiwan), EXiM (Macau), Floating Projects (Hong Kong), Chaosdowntown Cháo (Saigon, Vietnam), The Factory Contemporary Art Centre (Saigon, Vietnam), Galerie Lorong (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Para/Site (Hong Kong) and Chinese University of Hong Kong. Vicky is also one of the participants in the 2021 International Leadership Programme, organised by Australia Council for the Arts. She is also a curatorial fellow under the Margaret William Fellowship at Asian Art Museum in 2022.
She currently works as one of the curators at Sàn Art, one of the longest contemporary art spaces in Saigon, Vietnam.
Toan Doan (he/they) is a choreographer and movement artist based in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Toan was trained in Contemporary Indian dance technique Yorchha™ with Ananya Dance Theater (led by choreographer Ananya Chatterjea) and African-based movement with Brown Spirit Ensemble (led by choreographer Patricia Brown). After years of training and performing with the companies, the artist started experimenting with different modes of performance-making and choreography at Vietnamese art spaces including MoT+++, San Art, A. Farm, Time Between, and the Goethe Institut, making solos as well as collaborative works with other sound, performance, and visual artists. Most recently, as part of the residency program MÚA RỨA in Hoi An, Toan choreographed "Chiem Bao Thay Minh" (2022), an ensemble dance work which explores typhoons and their indelible imprint upon the psyches and souls of the central Vietnamese people.
In addition to performance, Toan facilitates workshops that foster connections through movement and dance.
About the Artist-in-Residence Program
Taking place throughout 2022 until the spring of 2023, this Artist-in-Residence program was created with Alvin Luong to support his exploration into collaborative models of artistic research and presentation. The goal of the residency reflects TPW's mandate to support multiple possibilities that can emerge when experimentation, trust and collaboration are given time and space to germinate.