KVT – Poetry in Steel with Luong Van Viet

KVT – Poetry in Steel with Luong Van Viet

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KVT 2014

Luong Van Viet 1

KVT easily eases into a drama of steel at Heritage Space

Luong Van Viet 2

Thank goodness for the Heritage Space on the ground floor of the Dolphin Plaza in My Dinh. THANK GOODNESS because it’s a space large and dramatic enough to allow sculptor Luong Van Viet to show his very dramatic steel sculptures to the public.

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Previously Luong Van Viet has mostly only had the chance to exhibit his large and heavy pieces at his workshop/studio in the shadow of the Thanh Long bridge and where, in 2011, I first realized how prodigiously talented this man is.

Diego and Laura from the fashion house Chula had long been admirers of Luong Van Viet’s ability, especially his ability to fuse different materials in his sculptures-I describe it as marrying. They had a very successful exhibition of his smaller works (plus two larger pieces) at Chula in late 2012 where the drama provided by the sculptor’s very beautiful pieces played delightful visual games with the playful drama that is always Chula

Now, thanks to Heritage Space and excellent curating, Luong Van Viet has a chance for his large creations to shine….AND SHINE THEY DO!

You enter the space and you are completely bowled over by the artist’s latest grand work…a marvelous marriage of steel and timber

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It invites you to wander close, walk around and through it and circle dance around its posts

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It has a totemic atmosphere attached to it and many viewers will be persuaded to attach other familiar circular icons to it from assorted global cultures.

The circle is displayed on a polished steel floor, that I assume would be available to a lucky purchaser of this simply simple and wonderful work of art that was begun in 2010 and completed last year.

s1c-Luong van viet

As you look through the pillars your eyes are drawn to a steel wall relief temporarily mounted on a rectangular wooden backing. It too is stunning!

w1a-Luong van viet

W1c-Luong van viet

It could be displayed in a host of indoor or outdoor spaces with or without the drama of a black backdrop….and my surfie friends have read their own exciting translations to it and those who like to meditate in leafy place have also decided an appropriation

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Then a slice of crimson pulls you towards the next large work…..

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…..which is also totally engaging as you walk around and through it and play mind games with its possibilities

over3-Luong van viet

This monumental work was completed in 2010 and has been awaiting the proper place to show off its beauty

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s2a-Luong van viet

And as you can see by views through sculpture, where to next is problematic as everything looks too promising… but the three scale models or macquettes on plinths are closest

Mx3-Luong van viet

They are replicas of the 3 large works and, by themselves, are too delicious and collectable for words.

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Ms2a-Luong van viet

Ms3a-Luong van viet

Above each maquette is notation about each work it references

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The third large work is a photographer’s piece of heaven as you focus in on its receding portals

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s3b-Luong van viet

Like all of Luong Van Viet’s large works you can traverse through their spaces and passageways…even run you hands over their cool surfaces

s3c-Luong van viet

By now you may have been wondering why the Heritage Space feels so calming and when you pause to guess why you realize that any hint of outside traffic rumble has been wonderfully stilled and quietly murmuring through the space is the suggestion of running streams and rocky rapids.

It’s all so simple and the result of noise infiltration from the fountain in the courtyard

fount-Luong van viet

The last two works are wall pieces, again temporarily mounted on laquered wood, and dramatic enough from a distance for another gasp of appreciation (which even my bad photographic skills don’t foil completely)

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The red mounted work is patina-ed with what, in the surrounds, could be likened to a surge of water across a polished surface

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And I can’t escape the adjective dramatic

w2a-Luong van viet

w2b-Luong van viet

Finally there is a wall piece that, with its red slot, mimics the two large works it faces and if you become familiar with Luong Van Viet’s work, is a motif that reappears.

w3a-Luong van viet

w3b-Luong van viet

w3c-Luong van viet

The exhibition is called Convergence and in the words of the PR: Hội tụ” displays a series of huge sculptural works on metal, wood and lacquer including 3 statues titled “Door”, “Equality” and “Convergence” and 3 reliefs titled “The Beginning”, “You or Me” and “Destination”.

Being totally impressed with the beauty and drama of the exhibition I completely forgot to see what name is assigned to which piece of work so if you want to find out I recommend a trip to Heritage Space, Dolphin Plaza at 17 Tran Binh, My Dinh….around the corner from the My Dinh bus station.

You may not see another exhibition to equal it this year!

Finally some images of the large works outside then inside Luong Van Viet’s workshop, some of the work that Chula reveled in, and an image about Luong Van Viet’s assistance in the preparation in his workshop of the magnificent Specula by Phi Phi Oanh that was a star at the last Singapore Biennale….and if you want to experience more of his work a good starting point is in the two links repeated here:



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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.

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