Art Vietnam has mounted a somewhat intimate selection of recent works by internationally exhibited Nguyen Manh Hung (born 1976) who I have to admit is one of my favorite art practitioners.
The present show shines because the gallery has decided that less is best if the conversations between artist and viewer are to be deep and meaningful within the confines of gallery spaces.
The exhibition sensibly dialogues between selections from the artist’s 2D paintings, drawings, digital prints, and his 3D installations.
Motifs developed by the artist over the years thread the discourses.
Motifs include the fighter jet as benign object, appearing since about 2006; Vietnamese conscripted soldiers from feudal and French colonial eras equipped with modern weapons-from around 2010; social housing apartments in Hanoi-from around 2012; asteroid planet from around 2013; the artist as security man from around 2013; and the snail and the turtle as satirical metaphors of co-operation.
For viewers who want a more thorough look at Nguyen Manh Hung’s output his easy to access website here with 2D and 3D works outlined in chronological order A brief artist’s statement underlines his 2D focus (below)and outlines in more specific detail his 3D constructions:
Our lives are filled with conflicts – sometimes sad and sometimes humorous. My creative practice is an exploration of aspects of the national and cultural history of Vietnam, as well as personal and contemporary life experiences. I don’t aim to talk about anything specifically, preferring to focus on the visual relationships of disjointed elements and unusual scales. Influences include early and contemporary Surrealism.
Since 2001 I started my career with inspirations from Magritte’s metaphor and Hopper’s cinematography scenes. So far, they’re appearing in many works of mine.
More images of the artist’s Vietnamese exhibitions since 2011 are here and here.
It is hard not to be chilled to the core by the artist’s asteroid planet series which at Art Vietnam is represented by a piece title EXECUTION PLANET
This ties in nicely with the small sketch of the planet destroying itself:
And harks back to one of the artist’s first blood curdling planetary ventures in 2013
A very small wall, self portrait sculpture takes you by surprise and has already been snapped up by a canny art lover
This took me back to the first time I saw the artist as Security Man in 2013
The Security Man’s bolt hole is a stunning creation:
My personal conversation with one digital print couldn’t help but diverge towards the destruction of
the refugee camp in Calais, France, and the reception resettled refugees are receiving in towns across the country which have metaphorically barricaded themselves against fear of Muslims
With memories of the Barricades as actual installation in 2013, 2015
Many viewers will find themselves discoursing about a lot of contemporary world issues as they wander through the gallery and as I write this opinion piece I am in tune with a newspaper item I read today about the new Anthropene era that is just about upon us.
‘The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020,
The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of theAnthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.’
Early this year Nguyen Manh Hung installed this satirically propelled jeep in Hanoi
It represents the latest in his ongoing play with slow and obstructive reptiles and gastropods…with turtle as TANK too gorgeous for too many more words
As is my practice when opinionating about exhibitions at Art Vietnam, I like to include the gallerist- seen below with artist- in her most recent art acquisition, an outfit designed by Diego of Chula. This one is top of the pops
|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.|