28/09/2016 18:40 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Bui Cong Khanh’s “Dislocate”

“Lac chon” (Dislocate) is a solo exhibition by acclaimed Vietnamese artist, Bui Cong Khanh. It is the largest and most ambitious art installation to date by the artist. 
Bui Cong Khanh was born in 1972 in Da Nang but grew up in Hoi An. He has paid much attention to the national cultural heritage. He has created diverse works, such as paintings, sculptures, installations, films and sketches..
Dislocate” is a beautiful large-scale recreation of a fortress which represents the artist’s desire to connect the past with the present. In the centre of the 1,000m2 exhibition space stood a large fortress made entirely of jackfruit wood which incorporates the familiar architectural elements of traditional buildings in Hoi An and Hue. 

Khanh’s unique ability to marry the historical and the philosophical, the folkloristic and craftsmanship is exquisitely exemplified in the final result. All carved details on beams, wooden pillars and windows of the structure are unconventional 3D motifs reminiscent of the war like a grenade, a military jacket, a helmet and barbed wire which reminds viewers of wars and destruction.

To make the fortress, Khanh used about 1.5tonnes of jackfruit wood which is very popular in Vietnamese culture. The choice of material already conjures up a series of cultural ideas in Vietnam as well as personal memories for the artist. Khanh said that his father was a skilled carpenter who used jackfruit wood to make furniture and help people build wooden houses. In addition, in the 1970s, Khanh’s mother also used jackfruit to prepare meals for the family. All brought about an inspiration for him to create the work.

Artist Bui Cong Khanh explains the meaning of each pattern in “Dislocate” artwork. Photo: File

The exhibition attracts many viewers. Photo: File

“Dislocate” imitates a wooden house with Hue traditional architecture. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

The artwork totally made from wood of jackfruit. 

Carvings remind people of ancient values. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

A creative detail inside the work. 

A pattern of a dress from the 70s makes people think of the past. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

“Dislocate” is a story of culture, land and people presented with the art of wood carving. photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

Four bonsai plants are regarded as the spiritual guards of the whole work. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

Patterns and carvings reflect cultural values. 

“Dislocate” proves that traditional values still exist in modern life. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

Carvings remind people of ancient values. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP

During the two years it took to complete the fortress, Khanh worked alongside traditional Hoi An craftsmen, learning how to translate his desires into a new design language and challenging the artisans themselves to create new motifs.

After visiting the exhibition, Vu Phuong, a local in Binh Thanh said: “The fortress shows viewers many things. I saw things of the past and the sufferings of a region together with existing traditional values and the artist’s creative interpretations of them”.
“Dislocate” is a part of  “the Conscious Realities” program initiated and organised by “San Art” through cooperative programs with the Prince Clause Fund. Established in 1997, the Prince Claus Fund has supported several cultural and art projects to promote the awareness of the role of culture in daily life .


“Dislocate” was on display till August 23 at the Factory Contemporary Art Centre, 15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien  Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City and has been selected for the Singapore Biennale 2016.

Story: Nguyen Oanh - Photos: Nguyen Luan & San Art’s files