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b. 1968, Tokyo
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Tokyo in 1968. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1992 and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 1994. He was an artist-in-residence at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas, in 1995 and moved to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in 1996. Towards the Complex for the Courageous, the Curious, and the Cowards (2001), a short video shot underwater, is a memorial to the Vietnam War; dozens of swimmers drag heavy cyclos, traditional means of transport in Vietnam, their actions a metaphor for a nation struggling for autonomy. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas: Battle of Easel Point—Memorial Project Okinawa (2003) refers to Okinawa both as an important battle site during World War II and as a training ground for American troops during the Vietnam War; fifty divers, swimming in groups underwater, seem to conduct military exercises that culminate in their painting stars on fifty red canvases. In the artist’s recent film The Ground, the Root, and the Air: The Passing of the Bodhi Tree (2004–07), footage of traditional festival lanterns, runners on a state-of-the-art racetrack, and teenagers floating along the Mekong River appear in a dreamlike sequence and bespeak the cultural tensions facing today’s Laotian youth. The Globe Project: The Garden of Globes (2007), submerges the viewer into a dark blue installation with over one thousand paper reconstructions of urban detritus and twenty-five inox globes.
Nguyen-Hatsushiba has had solo shows at the Dallas Visual Art Center (1996), New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (2003), Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2004), Kunstmuseum Luzern (2007), and Asia Society Museum in New York (2008), among other venues. He has also participated in group shows, such as the International Triennale of Contemporary Art in Yokohama (2001), Bienal de São Paulo (2002), Biennale of Sydney (2002), Liverpool Biennial (2002), Venice Biennale (2003 and 2005), Istanbul Biennial (2003), Bienal de Sevilla (2004), Shanghai Biennale (2004), and Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan (2007). In 1998, he received Shiseido’s Japanese Artist Living Abroad Award and in 2004 was shortlisted for the Artes Mundi Prize. He lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City.