An exhibition named “Porcelain” opens today,
August 12 at San Art, 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh District, HCM City.
“Porcelain” is an exhibition and DVD by the Danish artist group, Superflex, in
collaboration with The Propeller Group. The exhibition takes its starting point
from actual historic events surrounding a shipment of porcelain from Asia to
Europe in the 17th century.
On the Christmas morning in 1601, the San Jago set sail from Goa bound for
Lisbon. The cargo included the first consignment of Southeast Asian porcelain
destined for the European market. On March 14, 1602, off the coast of St.
Helena, the ship unexpectedly encountered three Dutch warships and a fierce
battle followed. After three days of fighting, the Portuguese surrendered and
the Dutch took possession of the San Jago.
Upon arrival in Holland, a huge auction of the cargo rendered a phenomenal
profit since Europeans did not know how to make porcelain. The importance of
this auction was unprecedented and it provided an enormous economic stimulus and
also diplomatic gifts used to cement the Dutch war of independence against
Spain. Among the recipients of such costly gifts were King Henry IV of France
and Queen Elizabeth I of England.
This historic event formed the basis for a three-part television series called
“Porcelain” filmed in Vietnam and broadcast on Vietnamese television in March
2010. Authentic objects from the San Jago are in a history museum in Holland
(the Zeeuws Museum) and the artists obtained the right to use these objects in
filming the series. Furthermore, the rest of the props created for the series
were officially added to Dutch museum’s collection, thereby recreating the past
for future visitors.
Rasmus Nielsen of Superflex commented: “We wanted to recreate Dutch history from
a Vietnamese perspective, using authentic historic objects and adding a layer of
constructed props to the official memory of the Dutch.”
Tuan Andrew Nguyen of The Propeller Group remarked: “Vietnam is heavily
represented in the shared global narrative of film and TV. We like the idea of
using the format of a Vietnamese television drama series to be an active part of
recreating the history of a western country.”
In the exhibition at San Art, the artists will introduce the “Porcelain” DVD and
prop used in this film. The organizing board will present 2000 Porcelain DVDs to