Culture Vulture (Oct.31 2012)
(VNS) French artist Nathalie Filoche took part in the nine-day workshop Art under the Roofs, along with another 63 Vietnamese and foreign artists, held last week at the Muong Cultural Space Museum in Hoa Binh City. Filoche discusses her installation art work and her desire to explore her Vietnamese origins with Culture Vulture.
n You created an impressive installation work titled Pendulum, which was made from typical Vietnamese materials such as bamboo, incense and rice. Could you tell us about your work?
It's an installation with two interactive parts. One part is on display in Hoa Binh City and the other one is displayed at the Ha Noi University of Culture until this Sunday. With this artwork, I want to convey the message that life is like a pendulum. No matter where we come from, we are all going somewhere, from a point of reference. It is important in our life to head home and to find our true direction. To search and go back to one's origins, of all kinds, is a conscious choice of direction.
In this installation, the public can see a mask. And on this mask, one can read information related to different steps of my life: where I was born, where I lived, where my parents lived and more.
In fact, my mother is Vietnamese and she was born in Ha Noi. She went to France with her parents during the war in 1954 and has never had a chance to come back to her native country. In the work, one can see the image of a woman who is walking in the water, with a bag on her back, heading to Viet Nam. It symbolises the image of my mother.
Now I want to explore my Vietnamese origins, and I am happy to have the chance to tell the story of my life through the work.
n Why did you decide to take part in the workshop?
It was because I was invited, and I also wanted to better understand Vietnamese culture. This is very important for me while trying to explore my Vietnamese origins.
I first came to Viet Nam in May this year and had the idea to write a book about my Vietnamese origins and the souvenirs of my mother that she brought from her homeland. I hope that with this second trip to the country, I could collect enough information to finish the book.
n Are you satisfied with the results of your trip to Viet Nam this time?
Yes, I am very happy. The workshop helped me to better understand Muong culture. It's interesting to trace back part of the origins of Vietnamese people to Hoa Binh Province.
Here, I could meet with local people and even though I couldn't talk much to them because I cannot speak Vietnamese, I could communicate with them through body language. I spent some memorable moments with them. It was very touching!
It is also very nice to meet and exchange with artists from different countries.
I hope to have the opportunity to come back to Viet Nam again, because I still have much to learn about Vietnamese culture. — VNS