KVT into autopsies at Goethe.
(Vietnamese version available – Đã có bản dịch tiếng Việt)
Most viewers of the photographs at Goethe will be brought to a standstill by the black and white pieces by Binh Dang that have an immediate ethereal appeal..… and some viewers will give a spiritual sigh.
When I was arrested by them I couldn’t help but recall the 1980ies video, ‘The Messenger’, by Bill Viola which is still shown to great effect in cathedrals throughout the world.
and also photographs by shock artist Andre Serano, whose famous and infamous religious objects submerged in human body fluid floated through my brain…the most controversial-though undeniably very beautiful – being.
It doesn’t take too long to reach the intended realization that these photographs are of animals suspended in large glass containers of rice wine.
Dependent on the viewer’s cultural background the emotional reaction can be revulsion at the preserved fate of the animals featured……
Or a seethe of indignation at the sight of pickled endangered creatures
or, in the case of the observer who believes in the medicinal or sexual potencies that the wine is spuming with, an interest, and an understanding; even, perhaps, observed with a thirst dawning in the back of the throat.
Despite ones emotional hang-ups, in the end you have to admit Dang’s body of work is absolutely gorgeous!
I can imagine them enlarged several times and ensconced in their own white walled gallery. What an exhibition they would make!
Right alongside Dang’s luscious series is one by Khong Viet Bach that even that maestro of urban photography, Nguyen The Son would appreciate.
For a long time I’ve schemed of catching for posterity the dichotomy that tickles my fancy whenever I see a building site surrounded by hoardings that promise dreams of living in unbounded luxury?
This very confident and able photographer has made a series of 15 pictures that speak poetically, poignantly and satirically.
As an impressive sociological series it points out that growing gap between the rich and the poor.
And highlights the material aspirations of the affluent middle class whose life styles are a bit of a mystery to the proletariat.
I kept referring back to that 1930ies novel ‘Dumb Luck’ by Vu Trong Phung that very effectively and with guffaws of belly laughs satirized the social climbing life styles of the nouveau riche…..who invariably take themselves very seriously.
It’s a body of work that you can spend a long while exploring and then go back to watching the interiors of those Korean and middle class Vietnamese soapies with renewed interest.
A delicious series that also deserves to be enlarged and given its own exhibition.
Next the artist could take on with tongue in cheek the plethora of interior design shops that have sprung up like magic mushrooms to tickle and inflame our fancies.
|Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.|