Bang Nhat Linh


The Vacant Chair


Mixed-media installation, repurposed pilot chair found from a MiG-21 aircraft, wooden frames, two-way mirror, LED monitor, single-channel video: 00:18:28, cotton swab holder made out of found 50 mm bullet case, cotton swabs, ceramic box, comb made out of found remnants of a B-52 aircraft, music sheet of the song The Vacant Chair engraved on plexiglass, lacquered photo album, found photographs, stamps and maps, handwritten notes

Dimensions variable

As an attempt to re-bridge and tranquilize a haunting passage of history, The Vacant Chair encompasses a collection of objects that sing. A rusted chair that once served as the seat of an airstrike pilot during the Vietnam-American War is now positioned in front of a single-channel video for this installation. There, two war veterans from the two ends of a deeply divided country reconvene through an act of mutual grooming, reminiscing of a long-gone past – the tales of which have more or less become smoldering lullabies. In the other corner of the room hung the music sheet of the song The Vacant Chair, once popular during the American Civil War. As a whole, the work invites us to think about what constitutes the making of peacetime and what has been left behind during this process. 

The work is on permanent display at EMASI Nam Long, HCMC, Vietnam.