The works of German-Vietnamese artist An Laphan (b. 1990) viscerally explore coping rituals about decolonized identity, migrant body horror and persistent memories of trauma. Influenced by experiences of his upbringing in a small town in Southern Germany within unseen and racially-biased power structures, his pieces provide an uncanny personal point of view into the underlying dysfunction of seemingly intact societal procedures.
Playfully teasing in between serenity and intense sensory overload, his often provocative works depict, resist and fictionalize the vulnerable psychosomatic body, the inconspicuous colonial gaze and the hidden dimensions of mental disorder beneath the everyday. The pieces linger on meditations about thresholds, in-between states, ancient wounds, impossible cartographies of the body, notional voids, the loss of oral histories, the idea of an absence, digital manipulation of skin, the process of praying, image fetishism and the deconstruction of his anime-fueled and cinema-burdened aesthetics.
His practice fluidly exercises a constant shift through media and genre demarcations – through moving-image and cinematic works, installations, photographs, sculptures, assemblages and writings – in perpetual translation between the visual, the written and the rhythmic: Disassembling narratives into scenes, words, images and spaces; displaying transitory bodies in between hyperreal computer-generated imagery and material artworks in silicone, polyurethane, nylon, steel and aluminum.
As part of a disconnected Vietnamese diaspora, his recent works revolve around the examination of Asian identities: into the lopsided depictions of Southeast-Asian bodies in Western pop culture and into behaviors of social shapeshifting to evade the notions of a genetic foreignness. He has also conducted research and documentary work in the United States and Japan about testimonies by South Vietnamese boat refugees and extreme Buddhist practices, respectively.
He studied Post-Studio and New Media Art as a masterclass student (Meisterschüler) under Prof. Klaus vom Bruch and Time-Based Media under Prof. Julian Rosefeldt at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich from 2010 on and graduated 2018 with a diploma degree in Fine Arts.
In 2014/15, he received the scholarship for the exchange programme of the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design and ZKM by the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Baden-Württemberg. In his time there, he was trained in Moving Image under Prof. Isaac Julien and Film Studies and Screenwriting under Prof. Razvan Radulescu.
In 2018 and 2019 he was awarded the USA-Scholarship of the Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences and the Arts and the Goethe-Institut Villa Kamogawa Residency, respectively. In 2021, he received the Junge Kunst und neue Wege Scholarship by the Free State of Bavaria.
In 2022, he was granted his first institutional solo exhibition Debütant*innen (Debutants) in Galerie der Künstler*innen (Munich), in tandem with his first catalogue publication, sponsored by Berufsverband Bildender Künstler München und Oberbayern e.V., the Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences and the Arts and LfA Förderbank, slated for 2023.
He lives in Munich, Germany.
Scholarships, Residencies, Nominations
Catalogue publication grant by BBK München und Oberbayern e.V., The Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences and the Arts and LfA Förderbank
Junge Kunst und neue Wege, 2021
Scholarship programme by the Free State of Bavaria
Goethe-Institut Villa Kamogawa, 2019
Residency programme by the Goethe-Institut in Kyoto, Japan
USA-Scholarship of The Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences and the Arts, 2018
Cultural exchange and project scholarship programme for the United States of America
Karl & Faber Prize of The Academy Of Fine Arts Munich Foundation, 2016
Scholarship of The German National Academic Foundation, 2015
Scholarship of The Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Baden-Württemberg, 2014
Scholarship and exchange programme with the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design (New Media Art Department)
Academy of Fine Arts Munich, 2010-2018
Meisterschüler of Prof. Klaus Vom Bruch (New Media Art/Post-Studio Art); Project Class Prof. Julian Rosefeldt (Time-Based Media)
Karlsruhe University of Art and Design, 2014-2015
Student of Prof. Isaac Julien (Video Art) and Prof. Razvan Radulescu (Film Studies and Screenwriting)
Debütant*innen Galerie der Künstler*innen, Munich, 2023
Solo Exhibition with Catalogue Presentation
Selected Group Exhibitions
BBK Tacker 2022 / Preselection Galerie der Künstler*innen, Munich, 2022
Group Exhibition with Dominik Bais, Roman Cherezov, Samuel Fischer-Glaser, Ossian Fraser, Xenia Fumbarev, Charlotte Giacobbi, Johanna Gonschorek, Lukas Hoffmann, Claudia Holzinger, Constanza Camila Kramer Garfias, Minjae Lee, Youngjun Lee, Tom Messavilla, Hannah Mitterwallner, Patrick Ostrowsky, Anna Pasco Bolta, Mara Pollak, Lilian Robl, Benjamin Stölzel, Andrea Zabric, curated by Michael Schmidt
Vaster Than Empires And More Slow halle50, Munich, 2022
Group Exhibition with Veronika Dräxler, Janina Totzauer and Lia Melissa Wehrs
Villa Kamogawa in Berlin CLB Berlin, 2022
Group Exhibition, curated by Michael Hirschbichler
Verbindungsstücke – つなぐモノ語り Goethe-Institut Villa Kamogawa, Kyoto, 2021
Group Exhibition, curated by Michael Hirschbichler
Ille #13 Ille Galerie, Munich, 2020
Group Exhibition with Claudio Matthias Bertoli & Fabian Feichter feat. The Heartbreakers, Karolin Nirschl, Luciano Pecoits, Barbara Posch, curated by Tornike Abuladze, Sebastian Quast and Janina Totzauer
Creators@Kamogawa Goethe-Institut Villa Kamogawa, Kyoto, 2019
Group Exhibition and Panel Discussion with Hideto Fuse, Saskia Groneberg and Tomoki Yamauchi
Innercircle Färberei Köşk, Munich, 2019
Group Exhibition by Bernhard Brnzn McQueen, Jakob Gilg, Benedikt Hipp, Ben Kaufmann, Markus Keibel, Valerie von Könemann, An Laphan, Anna Ley, Christine Liebich, Timur Lukas, Lennart Münchenhagen, Lisa Reitmeier, Laurentius Sauer, Thomas Weidenhaupt, Martin Wöhrl, Esther Zahel
Imaginary Display(s) B’NK’R, Munich, 2018
Group Exhibition, curated by Marie-France Rafael
Cartographist Academy Of Fine Arts Munich, 2018
Panorama II Academy Of Fine Arts Munich, 2017
Group Exhibition of the Academy Class (Prof. Klaus vom Bruch).
Stop Making Sense, It’s As Good As It Gets. B’NK’R, Munich, 2017
Conceptual exhibition programme, curated by Ludwig Engel and Joanna Kamm.
Kopfkino Dachauer Wasserturm, Dachau, 2017
Group Exhibition with Wolf-Roberto Schimpf, Nils Schneitz, Cigdem Aky, Julia Emslander, Eva-Marlene Etzel, Lea Grebe, Dana Greiner, Sebastian Schönfeld, Katharina Lehmann, Analía Martínez, Patrick Ostrowsky, Lena Policzka, Julian Rabus with SUPER REALITY & Florian Tenk, curated by KOORDINATEN (Sophie-Charlotte Bombeck, Ava Lahmann, Bernhard Wolf and Irina Antoniu)
Kino der Kunst Nir Altman Galerie, Munich, 2017
Group Exhibition with Noa Gur and Dionis Erscorsa
Ancestor Simulation Kunstarkaden, Munich, 2017
Group Exhibition with D.A.Y., Iason Konstantinou, Janina Totzauer, Jonas Mayer, Lia Melissa Wehrs, Patrick Tircher, Vanessa Ivan, Violetta Abate, curated by Mehmet Dayi.
Jahresgaben Kunstverein München, Munich, 2016
Group Exhibition, curated by Post Brothers & Chris Fitzpatrick.
Karl & Faber Preis Der Stiftung Kunstakademie München Stiftung Federkiel, Munich, 2016
Panorama Academy Of Fine Arts Munich, 2016
Group Exhibition of the Academy Class (Prof. Klaus vom Bruch)
Zimmer Frei Hotel Mariandl, Munich, 2015
Group Exhibition with Simone Kessler, Johannes Evers, Bianca Patricia, Federico Delfrati, Timur Lukas, Lenka Richterová, Mari Iwamoto, Despo Sophocleous, Johannes Karl, Julia Pfaller, Moritz Kipphardt, Anton Bošnjak, Gülbin Ünlü, curated by Mehmet Dayi
Notenfelder – Zurich Bezirksdirektion Maximilian Koch, Munich, 2014
Group Exhibition with Afshin Karimi Fard, Constanze Stumpf, Diogo da Cruz, Despo Sophocleous, Federico Delfrati, Florentin Berner, Gülbin Ünlü, Hyojoo Jang, Ieva Jakusonoka, Jan Hashagen, Janine Mackenroth, Johanna Klingler, Julia Klemm, Karin Schedlbauer, Katharina Zink, Mira Sattelberger, Klaudia Kolaric, Laurentius Sauer, Lenka Richterová, Mari Iwamoto, Pio Ziltz, Sebastian Schönfeld, Simone Kessler, Timur Lukas, Yoojin Jang, Yeonsoo Kim, curated by Mehmet Dayi.
Parasiten – Academy Of Fine Arts Munich, 2013
HEILIG! – Pavillon 21 Mini Opera Space, Munich, 2011