Exhibition ‘from Root to Canopy'

Exhibition ‘from Root to Canopy'

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10 am – 07 pm, Tues – Sat, 12 Sep – 07 Oct 2023
Galerie Quynh
118 Nguyễn Văn Thủ, ĐaKao, District 1, HCMC

From organizer:

Throughout human cultures, the tree has proven to be a rich source of symbolic meaning. Characterized by its branches reaching skyward and roots extending below, the inherent symmetry and duality of the tree embodies many facets of human existence. For this collective exhibition, the spotlight shines on the distinctive work of Hoang Duong Cam & Takayuki Yamamoto, Le Thua Tien, and Bruce Yonemoto, who all probe deeply into identity, displacement, and the intricate relationship between self and surroundings.

“The tree is one of the major metaphors used in all cultures, because its functions, visual image, quality of wood, behaviour may be applied to describe metaphorically various spheres of human life. The complex structure of the tree and its parts (roots, branches, bark, trunk, foliage, flowers) are the base for various metonymic and metaphoric transfer to describe a human being as a personality and a social structure of human society. The root of the tree is the metaphor for the origin, beginnings, and the past; the trunk is the major quality of human personality; the branches and leaves are the fruit, breed, results; the branches also symbolise movement, spread, extension; the bark is the metaphor for the integral entity. The visual image of the tree serves as the metaphor for a family, not only a human family, but also a language family.” *

At the entrance, the sculptures of Le Thua Tien stand as gatekeepers between tradition and modernity, a testament to the enduring spirit of cultural heritage. His meticulous reinvention of traditional Vietnamese crafts encapsulates the ebb and flow of cultural evolution, inviting you to ponder the connections between past and present.

As you traverse through the exhibition, the mesmerizing ‘Pinhole’ series by Hoang Duong Cam unfolds. Through his lens, moments of displacement and memory are etched in time, a profound exploration of the intricacies of identity. Hoang’s collaboration with Takayuki Yamamoto adds an extra layer of resonance as their combined 2-channel video work ‘On Each Milestone’ weaves parallel journeys, much like the branches of a tree, unveiling the intertwined nature of self-discovery and unity.

Ascending further into the upper floor, Bruce and Norman Yonemoto‘s ‘History of Clouds’ video work casts a contemplative gaze upon the sky — a canvas that has witnessed humanity’s journey throughout the ages. The video follows the representation of clouds in art evolving from amorphic elements in oil paintings to commodified backdrops for dreams in an advertising studio.

Bruce Yonemoto‘s ‘Cover the Earth’ series, originating from a childhood memory of red paint pouring over the Earth (a reference to the iconic Sherwin-Williams company logo), transforms into a statement on cultural identity and solidarity. By combining Asian organic lacquer with Western faux “lacquer,” Yonemoto’s works symbolize the metamorphosis of identity and counter racial stereotypes. A response to generational trauma and anti-Asian racism, which was exacerbated online during the Covid-19 pandemic, this series resonates powerfully, speaking to art’s transformative potential in a divided world. In the face of these challenges, Yonemoto’s work continues to bridge cultural divides, emphasizing the significance of materiality in representing cultural identities.

(*) Man-tree metaphor in British linguoculture, by Elena Abramova, Elena Pavlycheva, Olga Tarasova and Lubov Tsilenko (2021), 6.

About Galerie Quynh

Recognized as Vietnam’s leading contemporary art gallery, Galerie Quynh has been actively promoting contemporary art practice in the country for over two decades. The gallery maintains a consistent and focused program promoting emerging, mid-career and established artists in Vietnam and internationally. Operating in a country that lacks a strong art ecosystem, the gallery is a hybrid space that serves its community through its public programs and support of art education. The gallery regularly collaborates with artists, curators, museums, and cultural organizations locally and internationally to organize talks and lectures as well as produce publications in English and Vietnamese. In May 2014 the gallery founded the not-for-profit educational initiative Sao La directed by artists Tung Mai and Nguyen Kim To Lan. Sao La has since evolved into an independent artist collective spearheaded by To Lan and Dalat-based artist Nguyen Duc Dat. In summer 2020 with support from the Goethe-Institut, the gallery launched the not-for-profit CáRô, an educational initiative that provides art education for students aged 13-18 who show demonstrative interest in the arts.

A new chapter began in December 2017 when the gallery moved to a 600 sqm space in Dakao, District 1. Spread over four floors, the gallery is able to produce more ambitious programming and play an even more vital role in the cultural community in Vietnam.

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