Which Is Closer to the Truth: Myth or History?

“Reincarnations of Shadows” by Thao Nguyen Phan

Focus areas
• An interdisciplinary activity that cuts across a range of different subjects, including philosophy, human sciences, history of art, history, and Italian and foreign literature

In her artistic practice Thao Nguyen Phan looks back over the troubled history of Vietnam, in a narrative that is also intertwined with literature, oral history, and myths and fairy tales. In her works she tackles pressing issues such as the exploitation of natural resources, the food crisis and the incompleteness of the official history of Vietnam concerning the events that have made the country what it is today.

Particularly in her Voyages de Rhodes, Thao Nguyen Phan looks back over the contemporary history of Vietnam, superimposing the voices of the present on those of the past and showing how historical writings have often been deleted or reinterpreted. Phan weaves oral historical testimonies and photographic archives in her artistic research and, in her works, which range from moving images to paintings and installations, she creates narratives that are at once fictitious and documentary.

The children will be encouraged to explore the exhibition, paying close attention to those works that examine the myths, folklore, spirituality and traditions of Vietnam and that also look at the official versions of the country’s history. By sharing keywords and detailed documents, the students will broaden the discussion within their group, with the assistance of the arts tutors. They will later be divided into small groups, so that they can find out first-hand how history can be easily changed by the astute manipulation of information services.





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