CHAPTER 1……DEAD THINGS:
A couple of years ago I had one of those birthdays that end in 0 that relatives feel should be celebrated, so when I was asked what I wanted as a gift I jokingly said one of the little art works by Nguyen Dinh Hoang Viet that are on exhibition at a local gallery… particularly the fish on newspaper and the cicada exoskeleton on card board
AND I RECEIVED BOTH ON THE BIG DAY
The gallery director was ecstatic about the young artist’s work and introduced me to his first series- super real war machines, sometimes on newspaper- that were big time favorites with art connoisseurs
Then at Manzi’s affordable art show he allowed them to have 2 of his dead rats which were, according to me, BEST IN SHOW
A lot, like me, can’t get enough of his dead animals which critic Ilza Burnett once described as ‘the series of extraordinarily detailed, almost hologram-like, hyper realistically painted images’ …. While others are a bit repulsed.
I like to remind those weak stomached viewers of some other, much older dead animal masterpieces owned by world famous galleries with two 16th and 17th century fish examples below by Frans Snyder and Clara Peeters
With a couple more featuring dead birds below… but perhaps it was the inclusion of a live animal that eased some of the quease
Even Rembrandt got into the action with sides of dead beef
Which Chaim Soutine used as an inspiration in the1920ies
Perhaps some viewers of Viet’s dead animals may ponder if he is presenting us with symbolisms and illusions that were important elements of European food paintings from 1400 to 1800 as outlined in this essay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
One could say that Viet’s dead animals at Manzi are a celebration of fish, fowl and geckos
and some have amusing, sometimes personified titles, or empty speech bubbles
Below in order are HANDS UP; BALLET; SLEEP; SILENCEOF THE FISH, and ?
The gecko features again upstairs as a fleeting visitor
and was also in a recent series of the dead
Now a few general images of one of those art shows that is sure to mostly please- but sometimes puzzle.
CHAPTER 2: ILLUSIONARY
The new series upstairs was introduced in PR about the exhibition with:
And a proportion of people probably perceived that it was a photography show
But no….look closer and you discover that it’s rather cunning and beautiful hyper real painting…even down to a drop of water on paper
And if you go back to the gecko on a white background you could assume that it might have escaped from that crack in the wall next to it
One of these hyper real bits featured a small kid’s drawing (perfectly reproduced even down to the pin that is used to put it on display) which made a few scoff and utter ‘my kid could have done that!’
One wall has an array of what look like pieces torn from notebooks with maths formula, music notation, scratch outs and a few crumples
JUST WHAT WILL NGUYEN DINH HOANG VIET COME UP WITH NEXT?
I can hardly wait.
SEE MORE OF THE ARTIST’S OUTPUT HERE
There’s a nice catalogue of Viet’s work available – just like his art work it’s beautifully presented.
|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.|