D6 [Shrimp Pond], from “My Land”
Graphite, watercolor, pastel and acrylic marker on paper
123 x 260 cm
Pham’s Shrimp Pond (2020) is a large-size drawing that is part of the Mothermap body of work. Mothermap opposes the Institute of Distance as it interprets the world as having a strict spatial hierarchy found in classic cartography. Shrimp Pond is located in the south of Father’s Dam in the imaginary world. A carnivalesque collection of organic structures gather around a few bodies of dark fluids. Devoid of visible human presence, this fantasy world appears to be suspended in an overall state of stillness, as if getting ready for battle. Like other maps in the project, this expansive and richly detailed palette of figurative and abstract elements is a meeting of minds—from the psychologist Jordan Peterson and the author Jorge Luis Borges to artists as wide-ranging as Tang Yin, Julie Mehretu, Paul Noble and Jack Whitten, and the filmmaker Christopher Nolan—individuals who have influenced, and thus, supported Pham’s own well-being and creations.
Pham’s work is critical of essentialist identity politics in contemporary art that reduces individuals to their relation to a group. The artist observes the rise of backward-looking tendencies among contemporary artists in raising historical injustices that have ongoing implications on the present world. These include the questionable assumption of speaking up on behalf of victimised groups rather than let them have their say. Instead, Pham advocates looking to the future through an ethics of self-determination. By bringing together competing ideologies coexisting in his fictional landscapes, he contains the very things that threaten to tear him apart in reality, whilst living the life he wants, and making the art he can.
About the Artist
Hà Ninh Pham (b. 1991, Hanoi, Vietnam) is a fine artist and art educator based in Hanoi, Vietnam. His work explores the way in which we construct our understanding of territories from afar. Hà Ninh Pham is an alumnus of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (MFA in Studio Art), and the Vietnam University of Fine Arts (BFA in Painting). Pham has also participated in various artist residency programmes, including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Corporation of Yaddo, Wassaic Project, Marble House Project in the United States, and PLOP in the United Kingdom. His work has been shown in New York, Philadelphia, London, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. He is currently Visiting Professor of Painting at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts, and Associate Lecturer at RMIT University Vietnam.
Hà Ninh Pham will be presenting his works at A+ Works of Art.