Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS

    This catalog, published on the occasion of the exhibition IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS, is the first monographic book on work by artist Diane Severin Nguyen. The book centers on a new film by Nguyen that is set in Warsaw, Poland, and loosely follows the character of an orphaned Vietnamese child who grows up to join a South Korean pop-inspired dance group. Popular within a subculture of Polish youth, the genre of K-Pop is used by Nguyen as a vernacular structure as she traces a relationship between Eastern Europe and Asia that has roots in Cold War allegiances. The film and book consider how shared histories and cultural elements like song are woven together across different times and places.

    In addition to extensive imagery from the film and behind-the-scenes footage, the book also features essays by Cat Zhang on K-Pop’s online communities and by Nathanäel on colonialism and diaspora; a pair of reflections on the film by co-curators Myriam Ben Salah and Sohrab Mohebbi; poems by Zuzanna Bartoszek and Kaleem Hawa; and a conversation between the artist and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster. Also included with the book is a flexi-disc record featuring a song with music and lyrics co-written by Nguyen. IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS was commissioned by the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and SculptureCenter in New York. The exhibition is on tour to Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from October 28, 2022 to February 26, 2023.