Exhibitions

Diane Severin Nguyen | In Her Time (Iris’s Version) | 2024 Whitney Biennial | Artist Interview

May 15, 2024

In Her Time (Iris’s Version) follows an actress named Iris as she rehearses for a leading role in a historical war film about the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, a brutal assault on Chinese civilians by the Imperial Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937– 45). Through this framework, Diane Severin Nguyen explores the ways that history circulates in the present—largely through popular media, partly as memory, and partly as re-creation or even fan fiction. The doubling back and collapsing of time is furthered by “Iris’s Version,” which includes the actress’s retrospective commentary about the making of In Her Time alongside her own private iPhone footage. Nguyen shot much of the film at Hengdian World Studios, one of the largest film studios in the world that has also become a destination for filmmakers and tourists alike to experience a sweeping nationalist history of China. Nguyen features some of the thousands of migrant workers who come to Hengdian each year with hopes of screentime and end up as background actors portraying Japanese soldiers or civilian casualties. Over the course of Nguyen’s film, fiction and reality fuse as she explores the limits of the ways history is told and uses re-enactment as a vehicle for visualizing the future. The 2024 Whitney Biennial is organized by Chrissie Iles, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator and Meg Onli, Curator at Large, with Min Sun Jeon and Beatriz Cifuentes. The performance program is organized by Iles and Onli, with guest curator Taja Cheek. The film program is organized by Iles and Onli, with guest curators Korakrit Arunanondchai, asinnajaq, Greg de Cuir Jr, and Zackary Drucker. See the full artist list and learn more at https://whitney.org/exhibitions/2024-biennial. Book tickets here: https://whitney.org/tickets #whitneybiennial #contemporaryart #whitneymuseum #dianeseverinnguyen #videoart #artistinterviews #artistinterview #2024whitneybiennial