KVT – Lacquering L’Espace

KVT – Lacquering L’Espace

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KVT 2014

KVT finds an effective antidote for disappointment


’Tis funny how you mind can become jaundiced in the space of 200 meters so that you almost give a thumbs down to something that’s really very nice.

The cause of the intolerant mood was at the art space at 16 Ngo Quyen where some young artists had hung a lot of canvasses that seemed to represent some of their second thoughts. Mind you there were some that appealed but everything was so higgeldley piggeldley put together that it was a bit of an effort to sort the good from the dross.

Pham Tuan Tu sort of made up for the disappointment with one of his distinctive transvestite pieces, mirror framed so that you could see part of your own inner reflection in a delicious Magritte-y way


Pham Huy Thong had a helicopter horse ready to launch a penile rocket and it deserved a wall to itself as it made me contemplate anew an ethicist’s question I’d come across that morning after he’s studied new research that suggested that for the human species there’d never been a state of grace: Is that all humans are? Diminutive monsters of death and destruction?……… Which is not a comforting concept to have whirring around in your subconscious at any time of day.


Duong Ngoc Son’s still life lifted my spirits higher with its hyper realism and play of cloth


While I almost missed, but am glad I didn’t, Truong Truong Duong’s nice and delicate little print


Then up the street I strode to L’Espace…still very miffed by the effrontery of up and coming artists not taking enough care and had to stand in front of those excellent permanent light box wall pieces influenced by and redolent of Daniel Buren to let my indignant disappointment subside


In a much better frame of mind I took in the lacquers by female artist Nguyen Thi Mai which have been presented thoughtfully and attractively in what can be an unforgiving art space


The exhibit is titled ‘Women’ and I guess that it is specifically about that gender but what drew me in was the way in which the lacquer had been used to create a sense of old artifacts and wall friezes with a definite hint of Matisse cut outs dancing through

It was effective enough to stop a few people in their tracks, including me

Definitely a nice exhibition to go and be with and by the end of it all I was buoyant again and even accepting of the persistent mua xuan that wouldn’t stop misting out the city skyline







Refreshed (the coffee at the L’Espace café is worth trying) I went back to Ngo Quyen and gave the spring rainy landscape by Trinh Ngoc Lien a thumbs up


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.


  1. Hi, I am the webmaster of https://NguyenThiMai.com, the website of the artist mentioned in the article.

    I would like to have your permission to reproduce this on our website, with credit given to Kiem Van Tiem and a link back to this page, of course.

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