Oct 6th 2017

The Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present “And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence,” a solo show featuring BOLT Resident, Hương Ngô.

“And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence.”
– Homi Bhabha, Black Skin, White Masks, Foreword to 1986 edition.

“Life in a refugee camp consists of a home that is half of a four by six foot cubicle.”
– Donald Larson, director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, “The Hong Kong Refugee Crisis: Suggestions for U.S. Policy Makers,” 1989.

In this exhibition of new work, Hương Ngô draws from the stories of her family’s year-long stay in Hong Kong refugee camps through the eyes of her siblings, who were children at the time. This shift in perspective reorients the field of possibilities and experience of the camp, complicating clear victim or hero narratives that dominate the retelling of a refugee experience and animating Homi Bhabha’s assertion, “And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence.” Using as a formalist departure point the measurement, “a home that is half of a four by six foot cubicle,” which served as a critique of the treatment of Vietnamese refugees who were given the minimal amount of space in the camps, Ngô combines architectural sculpture with traces of her siblings’ experiences, which are at times poignant, humorous, and profound, but always expressing a full range of agency often denied to children and refugees alike.



Hương Ngô is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied Art & Technology, and recently a fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program. Her research-based process is often collaborative and integrates practices of radical pedagogy and feminist and post-colonial theory. She was recently awarded the prestigious Fulbright US Scholar Grant in Vietnam to continue a research-based project begun while at the Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer in Aix-en-Provence based on the surveillance records of anti-colonial organizer and proto-feminist Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai.

She has presented her solo and collaborative work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the New Museum, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, Momenta Art, Vox Populi, the Queens Museum, The Kitchen, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery in Prague through the 2005 International Prague Art Biennial, amongst many other artist-run and non-profit spaces. She is the recipient of the 2011 Rhizome Commission (with Fantastic Futures), has been in residence through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, SOMA Mexico, the Camargo Foundation, and Latitude.

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