Durational performance with 60 copied letters, DIN A 4 sheets with Vietnamese and German letter text as well as 60 airmail envelopes. The letter is available in copy, an envelope unfortunately not.
Action on the evening of the opening with the participation of the visitors with 60 "real" letters.
Minh Thành prepared 60 letters (copies of a handwritten letter to his mother in Vietnamese, supplemented by the typed German translation). He has put the letters in already labeled envelopes (with the recipient — his mother — and the sender – Minh Thành). He distributes these letters to the exhibition visitors with the request to enclose something personal, for example a photo or a drawing, to the letters and send them to his mother in Vietnam.
Text by Daniel Bérenger and Regina van Laak-Bérenger from Collection van Laak und Bérenger.
* The first page of one of the 60 handwritten letters by Nguyễn Minh Thành in the exhibition "Letters to my Mother".
I am currently in Bielefeld, a city in north-western Germany. In my exhibition titled “Letters to my Mother”, I create portraits of women who look like you (so everyone here knows how you look!).
Afterward, I overlay them with a white gauze, and draw blue and white striped edges that resemble an envelope, with my address here (in Germany) and your address in Vietnam written.
This is one of the 60 letters that will be given to the visitors who attend my exhibition opening. I will ask them to write their own addresses and enclose something personal, such as a photo or a postcard, with the letters and send them to you.
You might not receive all 60 letters for some reason, but that is not important. What's important is that you will receive them from strangers, with their names and addresses, while usually, exchanging letter only happens between people who know each other. When you open the envelopes, you will find a letter from me — your son, to you. Do you see it, Mom? The world keeps turning, and human beings are constantly evolving.
You have at least a connection with people on the other side of the world through me, an artist, and what I do here is my art. It is probably difficult for you to understand, but that is okay; I will explain it to you more later. I am the one in the middle, connecting you and those who come to my exhibition. Although the scale of the connection is small, it is what I can do right now –- today, not yesterday or tomorrow. You and me and those
** The second page of one of 60 handwritten letters by Nguyễn Minh Thành in the exhibition "Letters to my Mother"
Send them by post to you in Vietnam. You might not receive the 60 letters for some reason, but that is not important.
You will receive letters under the names and addresses of those strangers, while usually, only people who know each other exchange letters; and when you open the envelope, you will find a letter from me - your son, to you.
Do you see it, Mom? How wonderful the world is today!
At least, you have a connection with people you do not know on the other side of the world. It is because the world keeps turning, and human beings are constantly evolving.
I am the one in the middle as an artist and what I do here is art. It is probably difficult for you to understand, but it is okay, I will explain it to you more later. Although the scale of the connection between you and those who come to my exhibition is small, it is what I can do right now - today, not yesterday or tomorrow.
Mom, you and I, along with others, are all living in the same time, but we have such different living circumstances. This small connection between you and others reminds us once again of our shared existence, and we truly coexist.
Those I have asked to send these letters to you also find it strange — corresponding with someone they have never met. But why not? And you will find that strangers are not that scary, right, mom? Today, we have the right not to be afraid of strangers.
Soon, I will return to Vietnam at the end of June, and I hope you will see that I have not become “strange”! Mom, will you still recognize me?!!