KVT: BE OPEN; A MILESTONE?* AN OPINION…

KVT: BE OPEN; A MILESTONE?* AN OPINION…

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*an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

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Last Saturday afternoon the deluge flooded the city; thunder crescendo-ed and lightning crackled which meant that Nguyen Bao Tuan’s frog circle installation PRAY FOR RAIN on the lawn at the Art Museum fulfilled its intended purpose

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And in some low lying areas waves from the backwash caused by passing busses, as high as Dao Chau Hai’s steel WAVE, engulfed a few motorbikes

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So like Le Lang Luong’s frenetic VILLAGERS it was time to take to my heels

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…and seek refuge inside with 50+ BE OPEN works of art

Click to enlarge

BE OPEN could be construed as the powers that have control of what, supposedly, can and can’t be seen may be the throes of another doi moi moment and are opening the floodgates higher so that makers of visual arts can feel that their work and thoughts are not so often in flagrante delicto.

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BE OPEN could be seen as a momentous event in the modern saga that is Vietnamese art history… but it’s a monumental pity that it is only on exhibit for a week as it’s a bit of a blockbuster

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BE OPEN could be seen as momentous in that it is seems to be redefining the work and reputations of some artists and allowing them back into an official mainstream construct

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It’s a pity that BE OPEN didn’t have more space so that the exhibits didn’t have to dialogue so intimately with each other – but that’s a minor matter

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BE OPEN could be construed to be a mostly male celebration as only about one fifth of the exhibitors are women. Last weekend an article in The Guardian concluded with: when women were treated as unequal and barred from many art practices, of course there were fewer women artists. The shortage of great women artists in our galleries or art history isn’t a result of a conspiracy to write them out of history – they were not there in the first place

Which is an interesting hypothesis to consider when discussing contemporary art in Vietnam since 1986. Were they there? And if they were there why are they underrepresented?

Though when we take a close view of the two contemporary exhibitions (exhibition of young artist club and ATUM ATUM exhibition) presently showing at Creative City we have to wonder why too many female artists in Vietnam are given the invisibility treatment.

Some represented females who make their presence felt in this post Doi Moi are exhibition are:

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It could be assumed that the show properly begins with a large pre Doi Moi canvas

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A change in attitudes at the TOP is suggested by the inclusion of a surrealistic social radical satire from one of the younger males in the exhibition

An horrific, global war game scenario is pointed our way with a menacing piece taken from the youngest of the exhibitors’ last brilliant outing in the same gallery

My over-all favorite from the whole shebang is a very beautiful and beautifully framed, minimalist lacquer

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Though three post modern concrete pillows also tickled my fancy.

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And still in minimalist mood, the more I looked at a few grains of rice the more impressed I became

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I was obviously in Cy Twombley mood when I entered the first gallery and was goggle eyed with these two:

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Also in expressionistic mood with

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…and head over heels with a post impressionistic landscape

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I’m glad that pieces from what I consider to be an artist’s most impressive series is prominently pedestal-ed

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A fauve and joyful crowd favorite:

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I am a huge fan of a certain series of living fossils that have been documenting the city both lovingly and scathingly for about ten years.

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An artist too important to the period’s pre and post to be omitted;

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A diaspora artist based in Paris is a surprise inclusion, and his small installation subtly hints at his often wicked, satirical humor and fierce social comment.

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Finishing off with some other canvasses that took my fancy

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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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