Censorship Case Studies: Lê Thuan Uyên in Conversation with Laurel Ptak
Asia Art Archive in America
September 5, 2017
Video documentation by Asia Art Archive in America
Government censorship of art has long been an impediment artists have struggled to circumvent. Does interference by the state only serve to harm the output of creative communities or do these imposed restrictions help foster a sense of purpose and ingenuity in art-making practices? Lê Thuan Uyên explores these questions through various case studies gathered from her experiences both as an independent researcher and curator and as former general manager of Nhà Sàn Collective in Hanoi, Vietnam. Lê’s presentation is followed by a discussion led by Laurel Ptak, Executive Director and Curator of Art in General, that broadens the conversation to reflect on the increase in censorship globally.
Lê Thuan Uyên is a Hanoi-based independent researcher and curator. Her projects often involve close collaboration with artists and investigate current socio-political contexts and their impact on artistic production in Vietnam. From 2014–2016, she was general manager of Nhà Sàn Collective—an artist-founded institution in Hanoi, that aims to support the artistic scene, creating room for new forms of expression, production and exchange. Her curatorial projects and collaborations include: Miền Méo Miệng (2015), Skylines With Flying People 3 (2015-17), Embedded South(s) (2016), Sindikat Campursari (2016) and a forthcoming Gang of Five: Chancing the Modern (2017). She is in residence at Art in General from April–August 2017 through the support of the Asian Cultural Council.
Laurel Ptak is a curator of contemporary art based in New York City. She is currently Executive Director & Curator of Art in General. She was previously Director & Curator of Triangle from 2014–17 and has held diverse roles at non-profit art institutions in the US and internationally, including the Guggenheim Museum (New York), MoMA PS 1 Contemporary Art Center (New York), Museo Tamayo (Mexico City), Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), among others. She is a faculty member in the graduate program of Curatorial Practice at the School of Visual Arts and teaches in the department of Art, Media & Technology at The New School.
Image caption: Installation view from Sindikat Campursari, 2016. Courtesy of Lê Thuan Uyên.