Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba "While I am Dead – A Prelude to Life"(TOKYO)

20 October - 20 November 2021

Opening time: 12:00 – 18:00

Closed on Sun., Mon. & holidays

* “Art Week Tokyo” showing between 11/4 to 11/7 will be open 10:00–18:00.



Mizuma Art Gallery presents a sixth solo exhibition by Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba for the first time in 11 years. The exhibition titled While I am Dead – A Prelude to Life recounts the artist’s 7-year isolation from the art world.


Nguyen-Hatsushiba, born in 1968 in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and Vietnamese father, has continuously presented the series called “Memorial Project,” based on the struggles of political and economic refugees the world over. He has participated in numerous Biennale and Triennale exhibitions around the world and has gained worldwide recognition.


His seeming departure from the art world coincided with the decision to move to the United States after 17 years in Vietnam with a successful art career. Now residing in Houston, he says that the move to the U.S. has led him to relive his late father’s legacy as an immigrant and an American parent, embodying his father in a transcendent state of past-life. For the artist, it is experiencing the Japanese tale of Urashima Taro, where time catches up upon returning from Vietnam, the metaphorical underwater palace.


From this exhibition, we present his main installation, While I am Dead – A Prelude to Life, which comprises over 200 monochromatic images of various sizes covering the gallery wall. A photographic survey of daily encounters in Houston, travel destinations in Tokyo before the pandemic, and his theatrical and sports photography are exhibited all at once.


In this installation, the visitors are encouraged to choose one of the images and trade with their own photographs of daily encounters. The trading allows visitors to take home the artist’s work, while the participants’ images remain part of the exhibit for subsequent guests to see. It is sharing of time, experiences, and stories, moments devoted to reflecting. Through the trade, we communicate in silence, finding some solace in our personal circumstances. “Photographs we take are therapy to life,” Nguyen-Hatsushiba says. He hopes it will lead to a chronicle, recording all personal interactions between him and the visitors.


To coincide with this exhibition, we have published the first photo book by the artist. It presents Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s picks of his finest works, some of which are exhibited framed in this show. Through visiting this exhibition and viewing the photo book, we hope that you will experience first-hand the artist’s “Prelude to Life,” which bears his very personal and beautiful encounters.


“The photographs can be seen as self-portraits. These are moments of hibernation, a dormant state witnessing the light and dark, a disappearing act of living as an artist. As my karma guides me to the next checkpoint, I seek to remain metaphysical, leaving subtle evidence of prelude to life.”

—Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba



*We will be installing a printer at the venue, where the guests can print from their smartphones. Those who wish to bring their own print from home are very welcomed, as the artist believes it will add characteristics to the prints.

A guest is limited to one trade per visit; however, multiple visits are welcomed.

Please click here for more details (FAQ page).



You can enjoy a virtual 3D walkthrough of Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s exhibition “While I am Dead – A Prelude to Life”.

Please visit the following link.