From Below, Upward


A virtual installation.


This work is located in the skywell at the back of the Hôm Market, Huế Street entrance, Hai Bà Trưng District, Hanoi.

Through this work, Phi Phi Oanh points to the challenges of finding unclaimed and unprofitable spaces in the chaotic environment of a densely populated city and to the sense of detachment created by this urban habitat among migrants from rural areas.

In the selected location of the Hôm Market, fabrics, cheap clothing, foodstuff and general knick-knacks occupy every square meter of this utilitarian commercial space except for this sky well. Phi Phi Oanh utilizes this disregarded interstitial space to create an image of a fish pond, projecting the gaze of the viewer from the urban setting into a nostalgic landscape.

A microcosm in constant motion, a fish pond or ao nhà has a symbolic place in village architecture that brings nostalgia to many Vietnamese. In Oanh Phi Phi's case, it is an inherited nostalgia learned from the stories of her father’s childhood and his memories of free play and endless time.

From Below, Upwards, references Di sotto in su, a type of Baroque ceiling painting that feature illusionistic breaks in architecture to reveal open skies above the viewer.  Here, playing off the bodylessness of augmented reality, the source of this image file is lacquer painting on glass, a surface the artist has used in previous projects to experiment with dematerialisation and projected scale.

Artwork is a part of Into Thin Air 2 project organized by Manzi Art Space, 2018.