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Vue de l'exposition "Sung Tieu. Civic Floor", 08.10.2022 – 05.02.2023 Mudam Luxembourg @ Photo : Mareike Tocha | Mudam Luxembourg
Sung Tieu

Civic Floor

Mudam’s Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion hosts a new exhibition by Sung Tieu (b. 1987, Hai Duong, Vietnam).

Sung Tieu works in a range of media producing exhibitions that draw upon extensive research. Her works of sculpture, drawing, text and sound consider questions of governance, civic responsibility and justice, analysing mechanisms of state control. Making reference to art history, and in particular to minimalism and the deployment of the grid, they highlight the translation of ideologies within industrial design and architecture and the prevalence of abstraction as an organising force.

Civic Floor presents a new body of sculpture and wall-based works, which are accompanied by sound. The exhibition considers questions of space and volume, both in terms of their fundamental role in art-making as well as in the design of carceral spaces and bureaucratic systems.

A series of steel sculptures refer to different generations of prison architecture from the 19th century ‘radial’ prison to the ‘new-generation’ of prisons that emerged in the 1990s. These hard-edged, oblique forms reveal the organisation of space within. Each contains an amount of locally-sourced earth, a material that implies a connection to land whilst also serving as a discrete reference to the presence of national borders. These are accompanied by wall-mounted plaster works that refer to various documents employed in assessing eligibility for immigration. Three forms which are respectively used to apply for asylum, appeal against deportation or for refugees to apply for a ‘waiver of grounds of inadmissibility’, are reproduced without textual content, showing only the lines and boxes that applicants are invited to complete. The works draw attention to the grid-based design of the documents and the allocation of space on the page. A series of metal plaques analyse their design in numerical form.

Sung Tieu has held solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bonn; Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2021); Nottingham Contemporary; and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020). Her work was included in the 34th Bienal de São Paulo and has been exhibited at Museion, Bolzano; Kunsthalle Basel (2021); Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt; GAMeC Museum, Bergamo; and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2020). Forthcoming solo exhibitions include presentations at Amant Foundation, MIT List Visual Arts Center and Kunstmuseum Winterthur (all 2023). Tieu is the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award 2021 and the 2021 ars viva Prize. She also received the audience award for the 2021 Preis der Nationalgalerie, Berlin. She lives and works in Berlin.


Mudam Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion
  • Michelle Cotton, assisted by Clémentine Proby

Civic Floor is produced in partnership with MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge Massachusetts and Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Maansiksikaitsitapiitsinikssin, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.