Visiting Vo Thuy Tien’s “My Marriage”

Visiting Vo Thuy Tien’s “My Marriage”

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Written with photos by Hà Bi for HanoiGrapevine
Please do not copy or re-post without permission

Anyone can see little of themselves in the exhibition

Visiting Vo Thuy Tien’s solo exhibition, anyone could have in their mind their own idea about marriage. “My Marriage” is colorful, full of broken pieces, of amends, and could be described as abundant, blossoming, flourishing, or wilting, broken…

Started with a personal desire – create to heal, to answer the concerns in her own marriage – Vo Thuy Tien put herself on the spot to study, dissect, examine, analyze, express. She said, she had been with her husband for 10 years, too familiar to the point that marriage is not something of high spiritual value to her anymore.

Yet, becoming husband and wife, living under the same roof, sharing positive emotions as well as annoying “shortcomings”, are a whole other topic. An issue that gets almost everyone – sooner or later, prepared or not – dazed and confused.


Using popular visual materials such as photographs and motion picture, Vo Thuy Tien portrayed “my marriage” full of colors and emotions. You will come to like contrasting, vibrant, distinctive, or even ordinary images. “Ghép” is a portrait of marriage expressed through fruits. There’s bitterness in sweetness, there’s flourish in bitterness, this flourish will nurture another problem… At a glance, they have nothing in common, like bitter melon with taro, like bamboo shoot with enokitake, totally unrelated. Yet it is the difference, even contrast, that come home together, under the same roof.

Or “Cúng”, with a trio of betel nut, papaya, banana flower, grapefruit… It evokes familiar feeling when these objects stand side by side in a metaphorical arrangement on shapes, colors, or categories of symbols. As a Vietnamese saying goes, “the betel nut starts the conversation”. Blossoming, flourishing, they are vibrant, sweet, ripen and full of meanings.

You would be impressed with “Chuoi Vo va Gan”, touching a broken bowl fixed with glue, watching the beautiful object broken into pieces, hearing the harsh sound of the ceramic crash into the cold floor. I believe that, even though who haven’t had much experience with marital breakdown, would still have to stop and contemplate at this artwork. Thuy Tien said:

I thought what mended the pieces was the glue, so the search for this material was so important to me, it took me months. However looking at the fixed bowl, I realized that whether how the bowl stay put relies on how the pieces are placed next to one another. That made me understood where should I put in my effort..

Using photographs and motion picture to express these common moments in marriage bring the artworks closer to the audience.

“Đu & đủ”
“Đu & đủ”

“My Marriage” is Vo Thuy Tien’s experimental solo exhibition created with familiar images, and like she admitted, “is my portrait in marriage. There are chaos and order, cold and warmth, harsh and gentle. This analysis does not have too many calculation and arrangement like what Thuy Tien would want, leaving the space for herself to freely express what she feels. Yet it is that non-constraint method that brings about the harmony in the artworks. They themselves create the connections with one another.

This interesting exhibition will last until 21 Jul 2019 at The Factory (District 2, HCMC). And who knows, a brand new version might be coming in the future, if the “creative chameleon” Vo Thuy Tien hasn’t feel “satisfied” with what she found.

The mended bowl in “Chuoi Vo va Gan”

Translated by Hanoi Grapevine

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