Since the 80′s and especially at present the postmodern theory is a basic educational requirement as well as its concrete application in creating works of art for undergraduate students in Visual Art faculties in Universities all over the world.
Here is the opening paragraph from the editorial titled “Artistic Research and the Poetics of Knowledge” by Kathrin Busch, in the Art&Research / A Journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods.
“One of most intriguing aspects about art today is its entanglement with theory. In fact, contemporary art practice is now so highly saturated with theoretical knowledge that it is becoming a research practice in and of itself. Artists have not only taken up art criticism and negotiations, they now also integrate research methods and scientific knowledge into their artistic process to such a degree that it even seems to be developing into an independent form of knowledge on its own. If this tendency is reinforced by the growing transfer of theoretical knowledge in the course of restructuring art academies and establishing so-called artistic research projects, such a blurring of the lines between art and theory could no longer live up to the classical philosophical notion that art is ultimately a sensual form of truth.”
Contemporary artists that claim or happened to have no interest, access or exposure, or do not wish to engage in any way with philosophical thought for whatever reasons, are nevertheless subject to our “contemporary” world, which is infused with information of all sorts, unavoidably impacting on their work.
One can safely say that today artists are completely saturated with their contemporary world.
The book touches upon the social and cultural difficulties and controversy surrounding the acceptance of the then new to Vietnam contemporary art forms like performance, installation, etc, as practiced by the Vietnamese artists at the time, explaining that “… it was also a shock to the senses as it challenged traditional aesthetic ideals.” and “… in contemporary art’s social contents, its becoming “Pop”, and finally its direct intervention into political, social, environmental and human issues in the age of globalization.”
The Part II / Contemporary Art In Practice in Vietnam / leads the reader through a thorough chronological investigation of the art events and artists expressing their ideas, creative thoughts, feelings and understanding of their society and the world in general through these previously unfamiliar in Vietnam contemporary art forms and new creative formats.
The book faithfully acknowledges the ongoing support of Vietnamese and foreign cultural exchange organizations, the impact of collaborative work between Vietnamese artists and artists from abroad, the new important local gallery spaces.
The Authors trace the evolutionary development of these movements, outlining certain distinct periods in time marked by events and progressive boldness and self-assuredness in the performance art, installation and video art genre in the spirit of experimentation.
In this and the following Part III of the book they demonstrate intimate knowledge of the art scene in Vietnam, artists’ output as well as passionate engagement with the subject mater of their research efforts, keeping track of the chronology of the art events, describing them with interest and outlining the historical, socio-political and cultural conditions and peculiarities which impacted the development of contemporary Vietnamese art and promoted better understanding, recognition, familiarity and acceptance of these aspects of contemporary Vietnamese artists’ practices as well as painting and printmaking, which evolved in terms of content affected by the forming artistic awareness of critical, social and political role of content in art.
In Part III / Artists — Artworks /, the book catalogs and profiles thus engaged contemporary artists “… who had demonstrated very unique practices, had artworks that left a deep impression on the viewers, and had also contributed to the development of contemporary art at one time or another.”– according to the Authors’ learned assessment.
Each artist is comprehensively represented with robust analysis of their individual artistic concerns within the established by the Authors engaging view of Vietnam’s art world, illustrated with an excellent selection of photos of a number of artworks that allow the reader to assess for themselves artists’ output, as well as their contribution to contemporary art in Vietnam.