Le Hoang Bich Phuong wins again with her ceramic fingers
This Saigon-ese artist’s installation at the Japan Foundation just about blew me away… and, no, it’s not because I have a finger fetish.
Le Hoang Bich Phuong’s art work always spins the cobwebs out of my mind where ever I see it and her fingers are (in my opinion) top of the class viewing… a definite 5 star winner.
I was a bit perplexed when I saw the PR below:
And wondered what this sensational artist was doing with sacks of cement… until it was all revealed when I entered the gallery and saw an array of hundreds of life size white fingers creeping out from the walls
At first quick glance had me momentarily wondering if they were penile appendages in various stages of engorgement but I quickly realized that the censors would have smashed such an immoral concept into ceramic smithereens and fingernails soon put me back on track
Last time I was an excited spectator of an exhibition of the artist’s work in 2012 at the same venue and I described her figures on silk as being incredibly ugly but incredibly beautiful
The artist has often made me squirm a bit (delightfully though) with her finger exercises on silk and paper
Her fingers are rarely long and sensuous but rather, are stubby and sometimes a bit contorted, perhaps imagining the onset of arthritis in their joints… real fingers!
In the first of three installation she has fingers writhing from protoplasmic shapes in what she calls the Potato Field. Some are encased in golden glaze. Some push their way through pure primordial dust ready to wreak their will on the world.
For her third installation She created a black box-she calls it a Black Hole and we peer through small slits as the fingers- we saw at birth in the potato field and then in display and play in her amazing wall installation (The Milky Way) – are pulled back into cosmic nothingness
The artist used the facilities at Bat Trang ceramic village to create the digits used in her installation.
It’s not her first foray into ceramics. The small, violated figurines below from 2012 were a powerful foretaste of fingers to come
It’s interesting to read the artist’s brief statement about her work
If we humans were a branch of mammalia born without fingers would the world be a different place. I mean… we use them to feel and touch, to soothe, eroticize, create, batter and destroy. Would we just be a mob of ham fisted has beens – the prey and not the ultimate predators of the planet? How small and ineffectual would our brains, our capacity to reason, be?
But enough from me… Let Le Hoang Bich Phuong’s expressive fingers do the talking… and as the exhibition ends on Xmas day I recommend a trip to the Japan Foundation to see it before then… IT’S EXCEPTIONAL
|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.|