Project Room

Brian Vu:
LAB MFA: lung tone_mirror print_

Locust Projects is proud to present lung_tone_mirror_print, a project by multidisciplinary artist Brian Vu for the 2018 LAB: MFA program. LAB: MFA is an annual open call program that invites one artist or artist duo currently enrolled in an MFA program in the United States to present new work in our Project Room. The program allows the selected students to develop new work within the context of an experimental art space and expand on ideas they have been developing in their MFA studies. 

Currently enrolled in Cranbrook Academy of Art, Brian Vu’s practice takes an interdisciplinary, formalist approach to contemporary dance, ceramics, and photography. While his output is process-driven, his work is deeply rooted in the theoretical underpinnings of minimalism and color theory. Vu, who will complete his studies in 2019, has worked towards furthering his ceramic and performance practices including developing a new body of work that merges these two disparate fields together. 

For his LAB: MFA project, Brian Vu will present lung tone_ mirror print_, the second evolution of the artist’s lung tone_ series, a body of work featuring approaches to contemporary dance that establish constructions of ‘movement memory; for both audience and performer with ‘material traces’ acting as a mark-maker for ephemera. Each approach is different in structure and atmosphere but all share the formalistic questioning of: the performer and audience relationship, where dance is situated, the significance of material that lies within the context of the ephemeral and semi-permanent, and improvisation as an integral structure of memory and daily life. 

The performances Vu has developed during his residency at Locust Projects further his interests in the ephemeral and semi-permanent nature of performance and improvisation, particularly as it relates to the malleable nature of memory. Acting as both choreographer and the performer, Vu will conduct three separate performances, all employing structured and repetitive improvisation in his movements with each execution varying slightly. During these performances, he will slather unfired porcelain clay throughout the space as an act of performative mark-making. The remnants of the unfired clay from the final performance will act as a semi-permanent trace of his ephemeral performances, which will be on view through the duration of the exhibition. 

Within the Project Room, Vu has created a site-specific proscenium space utilizing contrasting colors, clay that will act as a site for three performances. The artist states the proscenium space was created so that the audience “can view in detail the movement that comes from the dancer, the marks that are created with movement in clay, and experience the space created with sharp lines, color, and encircling mirrors.” The decision to use clay is primarily a formalist interrogation of viewing ceramic-based work, employing a material that’s often tied to mundanity and functionality, but viewing it through the long lens of human history and its use throughout nearly all civilizations. 

lung tone_ mirror print_ is shaped by the unique approaches to technique and dance structures of choreographers Trisha Brown, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Theo Clinkard, in addition to pioneers of color theory and minimalism including painter Ellsworth Kelly, composer Steve Reich, conceptual artist Bruce Nauman, sculptor Wolfgang Laib and architect John Pawson.

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