Vietnam Time

10/4/2017 8:40:11 AM

‘Undone’ exhibition by Hanoi-based visual artist

(VNF) - You are invited to ‘…Undone…’ – a solo exhibition by Hanoi-based visual artist Nguyen Tran Nam in Hanoi on October 6th.

The adjective ‘undone’ contains a host of possible meanings – distraught, fallen apart, unfinished, unaccomplished, ruined, destroyed – encompassing the uncanny nature of Nguyen Tran Nam’s most recent series of work.

The lacquer paintings mark a return to a medium from Nam’s formal training at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts (graduated 2003) after a lengthy stint producing a diverse body of multimedia work as one of Hanoi’s second-wave of contemporary artists, yet his aesthetic and subjects continue in the vein of his more experimental work.

Dark and heavy, the series’ brutal beauty reveals the artist’s concern with both the dead and the living and portrays his obsession with the ruins of landscapes and life. Forming an imaginary realm unbound by truth, time or place, these are images of chases, riots, crushed faces prostrating on the streets, someone’s shadow just gliding through the darkness on the other side of a door. The depictions seem to pass by without reason, no beginning or ending, no explanation. And we humans are left to doubtfully wonder about moments of insecurity in the past, and realise that they are not individual points in time but a permanent presence, that we have been and will always be stuck in.

For Nguyen Tran Nam, drawing is a kind of journaling process, during which he unconsciously chronicles the ambiguity drifting in his mind as a result of stories he has heard, experiences he has been through and the character of life as well as philosophical metaphors, a general state of absurdity and obsessions with literature and poetry or myths. And whether these fragments of his mind were recorded accidentally or noted down intentionally, in the end they come together to turn into an untitled disorder that resembles an everlasting instant without beginning or ending.

Born in 1979, Nguyen Tran Nam is considered one of the second-wave contemporary artists in Hanoi closely associated with Nha San Studio (now re-named Nha San Collective) – one of the first artist-led experimental art spaces of Northern Vietnam.

Since graduating from the Vietnam University of Fine art in 2003, Nam has been producing a diverse body of multimedia work, which takes inspiration from his own experience coming from a working-class family, growing up in the countryside of Hung Yen province and later migrating to the capital to study painting. At times dark and heavy, others playful and sarcastic, his work makes visible both past and present-day social, political and historical issues of Vietnam, while highlighting the individual tales of and human relationships among people of different social groups, especially the working class.

Selected exhibitions include ‘Reunification-1 Journey’; ‘Mise-en-scene’, Nha San Collective, Hanoi (2016), ‘Broken Chapters’ solo show, Manzi Art Space, Hanoi (2013), ‘Hinterland’, Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco (2012); ‘Gap’, Nhasan Studio, Hanoi, Vietnam (2010); ‘Indefinitely’, Ryllega Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam (2008).

The exhibition is part of Manzi’s art programme supported by the Cultural Development and Exchange Fund (CDEF) of the Danish Embassy.

The exhibition will be run until October 31st at Manzi Art Space (14 Phan Huy Ich Street, Hanoi) with free entrance./.

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