(Vietnamese version available – Đã có bản dịch tiếng Việt)
In an unorthodox gesture, Le Quang Ha — the enfant terrible of the Vietnamese contemporary art — opened the doors of his studio to the public for his latest exhibition, titled Bo Ho Painting.
It would be true to say that most artist treat their studios as intensely private physical, mental, emotional spaces, where they can bury themselves in search of new ideas, focus on new visions in contemplating their world — imaginary or real — and dedicate the time of their life to creating art.
Most will allow access to that space only to their nearest and, in time of need, to art dealers and collectors, who with their support can help advance the process of the artist’s work.
But, very few artists — especially painters — will hold an exhibition open to the general public in their studios, allowing the intimacy of their personal working space and the physicality of their private world to spill out into the open public domain.
For the ten days of its duration, Le Quang Ha’s exhibition Bo Ho Painting, its physicality and the manner of its presentation, together with its thematic content, had led to and navigated the space in between the commonly established outlines of the private and the public in the social space.
Le Quang Ha’s remote – control challenge of this distinction between the private and the public, their overlapping in the social domain, is not something simple and naive in itself: from his artistic position it is a daring manifesto of openness and honesty — a statement of courage and straightforwardness — to which he adds the physical exposure of his private working environment, where the imaginary and the fictional in his work start to acquire a non – fictional character and morph into reality.
To push this line of thought, to make it evident to whoever comes to see his exhibition, the artist mimics the physicality of the public domain as present and overlapping onto his private surroundings by placing a miniature replica of the Hoàn Kiếm Lake Turtle Tower (Tháp Rùa) in his studio’s garden decorative pond and yet again as a part of his painting / sculpture installation in the exhibition.
Undeniably symbolic, this gesture and thought are central to the narrative of the works in Le Quang Ha’s exhibition: they form the intersecting and connecting point of the imaginary of the fictional with the reality of the factual.
From this perspective Le Quang Ha’s Bo Ho exhibition is arguing the validity and legitimacy of his art’s underlining narrative, where the fictional views of his nightmarish gardens and monstrous personages overlap with the actuality of the world and a reality from which they are born and emerge.
In a way the artist symbolically defends his convictions, his narrative, his visual expressions and visual vocabulary, in light of which the irony, the grotesque and satire, parody and self parody are an expression and a product of a deformed reality.
Each painting and sculptural piece in this exhibition could be read as a picture – story in a picture book.
The exhibition — as a collection of picture – stories which make up the book.
The artist’s studio space — as the book’s cover.
Thrown open on the lake shore, it invited passers by to look and think.
Reality or fiction?
| Ilza holds the deep conviction that there is nothing more damaging than indifference and that only a critique, based on peer to peer assessment of contemporary art practices, is the way to broaden and encourage the creative thought and new original artistic ideas — fostering a better understanding of contemporary visual art and the role of the artist as a creator of cultural values.|
Ilza Burchett is an internationally exhibiting artist, now based in Hanoi, Vietnam.