This solo exhibition of Vietnam-based artist Thảo Nguyên Phan centres around an intimate and mythic exploration of the Mekong River.
Stretching from the Tibetan plateau in the north to its delta in southern Vietnam, the Mekong River is 4,350km long. It’s also the second highest aquatically biodiverse system in the world. This extraordinary waterway is the focus of ongoing research by Thảo Nguyên Phan, and at the heart of her solo exhibition at Tate St Ives.
Combining new and recent videos, silk paintings and mixed media, the exhibition uses folklore and myth as a way of exposing the urgent issues arising from the rural industrialisation surrounding the Mekong River. Vital to aquacultures, fisheries and the fertility of the surrounding landscape, the Mekong is becoming increasingly polluted, over-fished, dammed and drained for irrigation.
Thảo Nguyên Phan’s practice engages with this deterioration directly, simultaneously drawing on literature, philosophy and daily life. A new film, First Rain/BriseSoleil, and a series of paintings have been created specially for the exhibition, which is the artist’s first solo showing in a UK museum.