TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT December 2022

TOP TEN

Đỗ Tường Linh is a curator based in Hanoi and London. She is part of the curatorial team for the 12th Berlin Biennale and in 2023 will serve as an Asian Cultural Council fellow in New York.

Amol K Patil, Black Masks on Roller Skates (detail), 2022, mixed media. Installation view, Hübner areal, Kassel, 2022.

1
DOCUMENTA 15 (KASSEL; CURATED BY RUANGRUPA)

Covid-19, the crisis in Ukraine, and the debate about anti-Semitism in the German press couldn’t dampen the mesmerizing energy around Documenta 15. Among the many great commissions, I was particularly drawn to the collective spirit of Britto Arts Trust, who transformed the Documenta Halle into a bazaar, kitchen, and garden. Elsewhere, Amol K Patil’s installation in the Hübner areal, Sweep Walkers, 2022, offered some masterful storytelling in space, weaving together the personal and the political to vibrant, meditative effect. While there is often a lot of contextual “situating” in exhibitions oriented around the Global South, these two projects demonstrated that one can be both politically engaged and magnificently poetic.

2
ANI LIU (CUCHIFRITOS GALLERY + PROJECT SPACE, NEW YORK)

Drawing on in-depth social research, Ani’s “Ecologies of Care” tackled the thornier issues of motherhood. The project might be read as a continuation of the legacy of Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document, 1973–79, but Ani managed to elevate and complicate similar material to reflect the increasing role of technology in parenting. Set within the commercial Essex Market, the show easily could have been mistaken for a storefront. It is in the very heart of mundane everyday life that the work wields the most meaning.

Ani Liu, The Surrogacy (bodies are not factories) (detail), 2022, 3D-printed polymers, 6 × 12 × 5".

3
MANIFESTA 14 PRISHTINA (PRISTINA, KOSOVO; CURATED BY CATHERINE NICHOLS)

The journey to Pristina is not easy, and it is a sad reality that Kosovars remain among the most marginalized and least mobile citizens of Europe. Manifesta 14 Prishtina provided a beautiful if melancholic space in which to reflect on the region’s complex and contested past, serving up examples of resistance in the present and strategies for reimagining the future. History, trauma, and the archive were addressed through various artworks and initiatives by local talents like Alban Muja, Driton Hajredini, Driant Zeneli, and the Off Season Collective, while the public program, also led by young Kosovar intellectuals, creatively intervened in public spaces.

Yael Davids with André van Bergen, Learning to read, 2022, bespoke brass and glass cabinet, restored damaged educational books from the National Library of Kosovo. Installation view, National Library of Kosovo, Pristina, Kosovo. From Manifesta 14 Prishtina.

4
“NO MASTER TERRITORIES: FEMINIST WORLDMAKING AND THE MOVING IMAGE” (HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT, BERLIN; CURATED BY ERIKA BALSOM AND HILA PELEG)

I admire the curators, artists, and collaborators who put together this significant collection of moving-image works along with its extensive accompanying historical research and publication. I only wish the project could continue to evolve and travel to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to expand its roster of powerful female filmmakers. The enriching public-program series and podcasts are essential online resources for aficionados.

Helena Amiradżibi, Kobieta to słaba istota (The Weak Woman), 1967, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 8 minutes 45 seconds.

5
TUAN ANDREW NGUYEN (RAW MATERIAL COMPANY, DAKAR, SENEGAL; CURATED BY MARIE HELENE PEREIRA

Originally commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation, Nguyen’s four-channel video installation The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, 2019, encapsulates four years of close collaboration with the Vietnamese-Senegalese community in Dakar. The work has since traveled widely, but perhaps its most moving moment came when it finally arrived in Dakar this past summer. To realize this work, the artists and participants weathered many obstacles, including the pandemic, a lack of financial resources, and increasingly convoluted travel restrictions (which were already very difficult between Vietnam and Senegal). Yet Nguyen persisted, unpacking an almost forgotten chapter of colonial history.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen, The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, 2019, four-channel 2K video, color, sound, 28 minutes.

6
BANI ABIDI (MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, CHICAGO; CURATED BY HOOR AL QASIMI, NATASHA GINWALA, AND BANA KATTAN)

What delighted me the most about Abidi’s midcareer survey was the artist’s sharp eye for small details and subtle sense of humor. Drawing on her experience as part of the South Asian diaspora, Abidi in her works unravels entanglements of the human psyche and absurdity that speak beyond any nationality.

Bani Abidi, An Unforeseen Situation, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 6 minutes 42 seconds.

7
DAKAR BIENNALE (DAKAR, SENEGAL; CURATED BY EL HADJI MALICK NDIAYE)

This year’s return of the Dakar Biennale reaffirmed that power in the art world no longer lies solely in Europe and North America. The city was filled with art events day and night, from L’African Art Book Fair to lectures, performances, concerts, and film screenings. Unlike the emphasis placed by most Westernized white-cube galleries and museums on exclusivity, the openness of the Biennale made it feel as if art were flowing directly into everyday life. Under its stated mission to “forge the still shapeless senses,” the exhibition fostered many opportunities to learn and unlearn, while featuring memorable contributions, like Ralph Borland’s Dubship I–Black Starliner, 2019–, and the installation, Noisy Images, 2019, by the Troubled Archives collective.

Troubled Archives, The Recognition Machine, 2019–, photo booth, modified printer, thermal printer and prints, website. Installation view, Ancient Palais de Justice, Dakar, Senegal, 2022. From the Dakar Biennale.

8
“GHOST 2565: LIVE WITHOUT DEAD TIME” (VARIOUS VENUES, BANGKOK; CURATED BY CHRISTINA LI)

The subtitle alone—“Live Without Dead Time,” an explicit reference to the events of May 1968 in Paris—was reason enough to pick this video-and-performance program as one of the year’s highlights. As travel restrictions loosened in Asia, countless excellent lineups (biennials in Busan, Singapore, and Kochi among them) have been cautiously awaiting the year’s end. And yet, with contributions from Orawan Arunrak, Lap-See Lam, and Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, “Ghost 2565,” an independent event, proved that one can always find fresh ways to make some noise, shake up the system, and challenge our perception of the world.

Natasha Tontey, Garden Amidst the Flame, 2022, HD video, color, sound, 27 minutes. From “Ghost 2565: Live Without Dead Time.”

9
DIANE SEVERIN NGUYEN (SCULPTURECENTER, NEW YORK, AND RENAISSANCE SOCIETY, CHICAGO; CURATED BY SOHRAB MOHEBBI AND MYRIAM BEN SALAH)

A co-commission with the Renaissance Society, Nguyen’s institutional debut opened first at SculptureCenter, where it offered a refreshing approach to imagemaking, informed by Nguyen’s background in political science, her flair for popular culture, and her sharp eye for unpacking our digital-dominated reality. The coming-of-age sensibility of her narrative not only attracts a younger audience to contemplate profound issues, it also provokes older viewers to question their innocence amid the turmoil of war in which we live today.

Diane Severin Nguyen, If Revolution Is a Sickness, 2021, 4K video, color, sound, 18 minutes 53 seconds.

10
59TH VENICE BIENNALE (CURATED BY CECILIA ALEMANI)

With “The Milk of Dreams,” Alemani opened a new chapter in the history of the longest-running biennial in one of the most conservative countries in Europe. The prominence of international female artists at this edition was inspiring, but the works stood on their own merits, exceeding the gender and identity of their creators. Several of the national pavilions responded in kind, empowering many previously marginalized voices and creating a coherent dialogue for the entire event.

Alexandra Exter, costume designs for Yakov Protazanov’s Aelita, 1924, mixed media on paper. Installation view, Arsenale, Venice, 2022. From the 59th Venice Biennale. Photo: Roberto Marossi.