Opening: Mon 12 Oct 2020, 05:30 pm
Exhibition: 12 – 22 Oct 2020
2nd floor, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
66 Nguyễn Thái Học, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
From the organizer:
I have conscience about my works and try to turn out a good piece of craftsmanship.
– Catherine Gaskin
This moment takes us to the experience of blank slate. It is stage back to infancy, when things created are built from innocence and discovery. Originality is what every artist strives for, but it is easy to fall into the routine of the comfort of craftmanship.
This instance is the attempt of two artists to break from their usual shell, to come out fresh by connecting and working with materials new to them. This freshness that buds in the air is the gift of experiment. Experimentation offers chances of failure and recovery/discovery. As it is with artists obsessed in mastering a material, any beginning is always exciting and refreshing.
Nguyễn Xuân Lục
Luc have been mastering lacquer as a material since he left his job as industrial designer back in 2011. He has produced various works and have gone through many experiments until he’s confident to play on another material, which is mother of pearl inlay. Inlay is a highly regarded artisanal skill in Asia. Luc grew up in Chuon Ngo, a village that specializes in the craft of inlay. A pragmatic artist and one who appreciates techniques, it is no surprise that Luc would be drawn back to this delicate process of transforming mother of pearl into fine art.
One of Luc’s predicament is the lack of support provided to artisans and craft villages in Vietnam. As an original who spends his energy learning new ways on how to utilize traditional materials, he is one of the lifelines of this particular Vietnamese culture. His new step on this journey is a hope that would ensure the survival and innovation of a craft that helped gave identity to his country.
His inlays on lacquer are bringing us to a dimension familiar to many. He utilized the technique of line drawing to present a surreal landscape of the cosmos. The striking effects of lacquer and mother of pearl gives off an atmosphere of grandness. However, it is a splendour that is distant. It reminds us of our little, puny self. Although the artist’s subject is of the majestic universe, it evokes in us a feeling of humility. As if we want to step backward and marvel with awe at the horizon which we have but also cannot reach. It is not ambitious, rather it is contentment and surrender that floats in every blank space in Luc’s landscape.
Hà Huy Mười
Muoi, on the other hand, is venturing towards reconnecting with everybody’s first material in visual arts – paper. The simplicity and versatility of paper allows his radical themes to sit in balance. The ubiquity of the images of human innards and its display of pain seeped through the veins of the fragile sheets. For Muoi, the material and the images of his work are both metaphors that speaks of his worldview. “There’s so much pain caused by the existing systems,” he said.
His compositions may be too uncomfortable to look at, but it is the way of the artist to interrogate us. The images are like fingers turning into scalpels scraping the scabs of our wounds and exposing them again to the current elements. Not all artists offer healing, but revisiting the damaged part of ourselves with Muoi’s work may offer us an appreciation on how capable we are of enduring and persisting.
Words by Dumay Solingay.