Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng’s solo show All Aboard featuring his latest body of work which offers a playful critique on the understanding of the afterlife. Seven years since his previous solo show with the gallery entitled Farmers Got Power (2016), Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng’s oeuvre still retains the artist’s signature pairings of paradoxical symbolisms as well as his unmistakable sense of humour.
A faithful follower of Buddhist philosophy, Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng interprets death as a journey and karma as its luggage, laden with both the good and bad deeds of daily life. Some prepare for their post-life with sophisticated funeral rituals while others set out to fill their luggage with only good karma in the hope of arriving at a place that may not even exist. Recurring through the exhibition, in painting and sculptural forms, are scenes of frenzied crowds hurriedly and desperately holding on to sacred gates from various religions. Though the destination is unclear, it is a place worth chasing, as conveyed through the pressing looks of urgency in the eyes of the passengers.
All Aboard juxtaposes chaotic images, found online, of people running after, clinging to, or squeezing into public transportation against objects of ritual and solemn religious architecture – supposedly sacred sites where people venerate the divine. The exhibition pokes fun at the living’s obsession with heaven — a realm that exceeds the comprehension of earthly beings. Even though most religions believe in life after death, each having a different way of defining heaven and who may enter, their teachings often refer to heaven as a condition rather than as a specific place. Death is profoundly personal and unique: how we live will determine how we prepare for this journey and what lies on the other side of the gate.
Source: Galerie Quynh.