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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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The Propeller Group

Vietnam

The Propeller Group was established in 2006 by Phunam Thuc Ha (b. 1974, Saigon, Vietnam) and Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon), who were joined by Matt Lucero (b. 1976, Upland, California) in 2008. Phunam studied sculpture and conservation in Bangkok, Thailand; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and at the École des Beaux Arts, Hanoi, Vietnam. Nguyen earned a BFA from the University of California, Irvine (1999), and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2004), where he met Lucero, who completed his MFA in 2003. Lucero earned a BFA from the University of California, Riverside (2000). Phunam and Nguyen cofounded the artist-run alternative space Sàn Art (Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon) along with Dinh Q. Lê and Tiffany Chung in 2007. The Propeller Group now participates in operating the space.

The Propeller Group makes large-scale collaborative projects in new media, from videos to web-based applications, taking a special interest in mass communication. Applying systems-hacking tactics, they appropriate strategies from advertising, marketing, and the rarefied forms of commodity exchange and display that take place in galleries and museums. Information is their medium and Vietnam is frequently their subject. In Viet Nam the World Tour (VNTWT)

(2010–12), the Propeller Group subjects the nation—its history, culture, and people—to a re-branding campaign. Enlisting street muralists, graffiti artists, hip-hop dancers, and pop musicians, they attempt to propagate a global public image of contemporary Vietnam as fresh, vibrant, and creative. Via promotional videos, performances, a website, and paraphernalia (including t-shirts and stickers), VNTWT exploits the power of pop culture to satirize nationalism.

To appreciate the Propeller Group’s work is to enter an extended network of aesthetic and cultural production. Their participation in The Unseen (4th Guangzhou Triennial, China, 2012) involved artisans from Dafen, the Chinese village famous for manufacturing reproductions of oil paintings. The Propeller Group invited workers to paint self-portraits in the spirit of emancipated creativity, with their usual product relegated to the background. This premise was adapted from a 2004 project by the group REGIONAL, who are acknowledged in the work’s title, Regional Reproduction: Self-Portraiture and Emerging Artistic Consciousness in Dafen (2012).

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Featured Artworks

Television Commercial for Communism by The Propeller Group contemporary artwork
The Propeller GroupTelevision Commercial for Communism, 2011 - 2012 Five-channel synchronized video installation (60:00 min), and one single-channel video (1:00min)
Variable dimensions
Not For Sale
Singapore Art Museum

In Ocula Magazine

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Ghosts, Spies And Grandmothers At Mediacity Seoul 2014 Ocula Report Ghosts, Spies And Grandmothers At Mediacity Seoul 2014 16 Sep 2014 : Jeesun Park for Ocula

Much has already been said about the fast-paced development and break-neck modernization of Asia but what has been largely forgotten in these breathless accounts is the importance of its history. In order to understand contemporary Asia one needs to look into the past, look more closely at its regional diversity and draw connections to local...

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Mediacity Seoul 2014: Ghosts, Spies, And Grandmothers Ocula Report Mediacity Seoul 2014: Ghosts, Spies, And Grandmothers 15 Sep 2014 : Becca Voelcker for Ocula

Since its foundation in 2000, Seoul’s contemporary art biennial, Mediacity, aims to represent the city’s identity as a hub of media and technology. With an exhibition on three floors of Seoul Museum of Art, and a programme of screenings in the Korean Film Museum, Mediacity surveys the current climate in art production, shifting its...

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S. Alice Mong Ocula Conversation S. Alice Mong Executive Director, Asia Society, Hong Kong

S. Alice Mong became the Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center in 2012. Prior to joining the Asia Society, Ms Mong worked for almost a decade in New York, where as Director of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) she was responsible for transforming MOCA from a New York Chinatown institution to a leading national museum. Ms Mong...

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Richard Armstrong Ocula Conversation Richard Armstrong Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York

Richard Armstrong is the Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. As well as managing the foundation he oversees the Guggenheim Museum in New York as well as the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Deutsche Guggenheim and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi due for completion in 2017. Prior to this...

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In Related Press

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Two Projects Revisit Historical Images with a Calm and Critical Eye Related Press Two Projects Revisit Historical Images with a Calm and Critical Eye Hyperallergic : 10 November 2016

There are photographs that strike me as insurmountable. An image of presumable lovers, falling hand in hand from the World Trade Center as it burned. The image of a Vietnamese girl, screaming from the burning effects of napalm. The pain these photographs elicit is debilitating and the experience of seeing them is voyeuristic, not productive. The...

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A Vietnamese art collective is making commercials for Communism Related Press A Vietnamese art collective is making commercials for Communism The Creators Project : 4 July 2016

Seeking to illuminate the West's blind spot for Southeast Asia, the Ho Chi Minh City art collective-cum-advertising company The Propeller Group produces ambitious multimedia projects through artifacts, videos, and sculptural works.Vietnamese-born artists Tuan Andrew Nguyen and Phunam, along with Southern California native Matt Lucero, want...

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Playing with Guns and Ballistics Gel: Interview with The Propeller Group's Matt Lucero Related Press Playing with Guns and Ballistics Gel: Interview with The Propeller Group's Matt Lucero ArtAsiaPacific : 9 June 2015

The Propeller Group is a multidisciplinary, multi-platform art collective based in Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles. Together, artists Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Phunam and Matt Lucero create ambitious projects that cross the boundaries of visual art, advertising and film. Recently, ArtAsiaPacific sat down with Lucero to chat about the group’s...

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'After Utopia' at Singapore Art Museum Related Press 'After Utopia' at Singapore Art Museum Today Singapore : 4 May 2015

In 1516, the philosopher Thomas More coined the word “utopia” to describe an idealised society living on an island. He could not have predicted that, nearly half a millennium later, there would be an actual island state that some circles consider the epitome of his imagined community.Singapore’s status as a kind of poster...

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