Current Exhibition

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery presents “Her Name Escapes Me,” an exhibition of recent works by Chicago artist Hương Ngô opening with a reception from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24. The free exhibit will remain open to the public through Thursday, Nov. 21. Ngô’s work connects language and power in the understanding of how colonial ideology is enacted on bodies of women.

In conjunction with this exhibit, Ngô will present an ECCE Speaker Series visual lecture from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library.

As part of her ECCE Speaker Series presentation, Ngô will deliver a visual lectured titled “To Name It is to See it: Identity and Misrecognition” that explores her identity as a refugee in the American South and examines difficulties she has experienced in being the “other” within a community. Through the use of visual and performing arts, she will articulate her perspectives and explore the issues of colonialism, immigration, citizenship, intersectionality, marginalization and resistance.

Ngô was born in Hong Kong, often works in France and Vietnam and is currently based in Chicago where she is an Assistant Professor in Contemporary Practices at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Through her artwork, she engages histories of colonialism and migration, particularly in relationship to language, structures of power, and ideologies. The body and, alternately, its absence and its traces are strongly present in her work, which often asks how we might make visible the process of our own subject formation.

This exhibition incorporates Ngô’s experimentation with materials that sit on the edge of visibility, including serigraph prints of figures from colonial postcards that emerge from darkness to haunt the space and books overprinted with thermochromic ink, revealed only when touched. Sharing the same title as the exhibition is a work that was prompted by her research in the National Archives of Overseas Territories, where she learned about the activities of women involved in the anti-colonial movement and the violence from both the state and their fellow comrades that they often had to endure, only to be forgotten by history.

Ngô’s research and archive-based practice began while she was a studio fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2012. She was recently awarded the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant in Vietnam (2016) to realize a project, begun at the National Archives of Overseas Territories in France, recently exhibited at DePaul Art Museum (2017) and continued through the Camargo Core Program (2018). The project examines the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance vis-à-vis the activities of female organizers and liaisons. Her work has been described as “deftly and defiantly decolonial” by New City and “what intersectional feminist art looks like” by the Chicago Tribune. Ngô has exhibited at the MoMA, MCA Chicago, Nhà Sàn Collective, and Para Site and is supported by 3Arts, Chicago Artists Coalition, DCASE and Sàn Art, among others.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.



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