Where are we on the planet of plastic?

Where are we on the planet of plastic?

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Written by Nguyen Duc Tung for Hanoi Grapevine and VCCA
Please do not copy or re-post without permission from the author

Plastic – an omnipresent material that affects every aspect of human’s life. We store our food in plastic containers, have meals with plastic spoons and straws, use plastic fans against the scorching summer heat,… People gradually accept this material as an inevitable creation of nature. “Is plastic part of our world or are we part of a plastic world?” Audience can more or less find the answer for themselves through the exhibition “Plastic Planet” by artists from Tòhe. The event takes place at Vincom Center for Contemporary Art (VCCA) from 21 Jun until 18 Aug 2019.

Take a step into the exhibition space and the audience could get lost in a fantasy world. A world of absurdity in which all creatures, all objects and all natural phenomena are made up of plastic “molecules”.

A corner of “Ocean”, part of the artwork trio “Field – Ocean – Tornado” at the exhibition
A grasshopper in a field of plastic “straws”

What is most impressive about the series “Field – Ocean – Tornado” is how meticulous the artists were in each detail. They had “co-ordinated” tens of thousands of used plastic items together to create a harmony in sizes and colors and thus, a panorama of nature. Not only so, each fold of plastic bags also form a visually-appealing pattern on the artwork’s surface.

A part of “Tornado” surface

The above installation work used paintings created by autistic child artists – Van Minh Duc, Binh Minh and Hoang Phuc Dat. In a shape of an apartment building, each picture acts as an “apartment” representing a shelter for each “resident”. Depending on the author’s idea and personality, the works are displayed at different depths of the box. In this “apartment building”, Dat is probably the most reserved “resident”. His paintings have absolutely no image of people and all are placed in closed boxes. Only when the audience come close and look through the magnifying glass doors can they see the artwork.

If the “Shelter” was where people enter to search for peace, the “Secret Box” is the place to contemplate. The artwork consists of four interconnected rooms creating a tunnel. At each room, the audience will experience with a different sense: hearing, sight and touch.

Images of the “Secret box”:

Last but not least in the exhibition “Plastic Planet” is the “Family” sculptures of parents and children inspired by children’s drawings. Young audience will be delighted to see the characters in their world becoming real figures. As for adults, “Family” brings a lot of contemplation on the relationship between family members, with society and with the surrounding nature.

A part of “Family”
A part of “Family”

Choosing used plastic items as materials for visual arts, artists from Tohe created a world that looks abstract yet not unfamiliar. Personally for the author of this article, “Plastic Planet” is the Earth in the future when people continue to use plastic excessively and “accept” it as an indispensable element in life.

Translated by Hanoi Grapevine

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