The oddball, the Reebel & the Maverick

The oddball, the Reebel & the Maverick

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10 am – 08 pm, Tues – Sun 07 May – 28 July 2024
The Outpost Art Organisation
Roman Plaza Tower B1 (Floor 2), To Huu, Hanoi

From the organizer:

As a collaborative project between The Outpost (TO) and Nguyen Art Foundation (NAF), this exhibition underscores the resilience of artists amidst the challenging landscape from the 1980s to the 2000s – a period often defined by a serious lack of art infrastructure and support. Moreover, the exhibition seeks to invite reflection on the dynamics and interactions between art organisations in our current context. As individual artists continue to share resources and push boundaries, we must also consider how organisations can collaborate to support our local art scene. What would happen when two distinct art organisations such as TO and NAF intersect – one curating the other’s collection? What opportunities for mutual learning would arise from such engagement? How could these partnerships enhance the way we see and understand artworks?

From the NAF collection, we chose to borrow the works of artists who were active and prominent in the Hanoi art movements in the post-Đổi Mới (*) period (1980s – 2000s). This time frame is considered by observers and researchers as the heydays of Vietnamese contemporary art, marked by the emergence of experimental artists. Their works went beyond the aesthetic and ideological framework taught in the formal institutional system, and challenged social norms. Such artists have been coined as the ‘avant-garde’ of visual art – an art historical term used to refer to artistic articulations that are ‘ahead of their time’. Though for good reasons, this term cannot fully grasp the connotation of the Vietnam context. For a war-torn Socialist country, who started to take baby steps into the Renovation period, pioneering spirit does not only point to the bold innovations in style, form and subject-matter that challenge the existing artistic and aesthetic traditions. It also means the resilience and honesty of artists, who continue to create despite the fact that their positionality and practice do not fit with the dominant social conventions.

Within the parameters of a private collection, this exhibition only celebrates a humble fragment of a diverse range of unconventional, bold, and pioneering artistic practices that have contributed to the richness and vibrancy of the Hanoi art scene. There, we can see the efforts to push the creative boundaries of ‘the oddball’, or the criticality of ‘the rebel’, and last but not least, the eccentric yet raw souls of ‘the maverick’.

(*) Referring to the Renovation period or the “Open Door” policy when Vietnam introduced economic reforms (in 1986) with the goal of creating a “socialist-oriented market”.

Entrance tickets: available at The Outpost’s reception desk (024.2226.6888)
Ticket price: 60,000 VND (standard); 40,000 VND (student); free (elderly over 65 and children under 6)

The Outpost would like to express our deepest gratitude towards Nguyen Art Foundation and all participating artists for their enthusiasm and support throughout the exhibition making process.

The contextual materials presented in this exhibition are collected from various sources, including the “Studio Visit” series of Nguyen Art Foundation, online entries of the Asia Art Archive, excerpts from the book “Don’t call it art” edited by Veronika Radulovic and Annette Bhagwati, the personal archives of Suzanne Lecht, information from the Vietnam Contemporary Art Database and the Postividai Collection’s website.

Curated by: Lê Thuận Uyên
Assistant curator: Linh San
Spatial design consultation: Vũ Hoàng Anh
Exhibition production team: Dương Dương, Mai Minh Design & Construction Co., Trần Tùng, Tạ Lê Duy Anh, Hoàng Anh, Hương Ly, Cá Con, em Hiển, cô Nga, and The Outpost’s Attendant Team
Exhibition identity design: Duy Đào, Thuỷ Mẫn
Strategic partners: Hexogon Vietnam, Unios, StagePro

The exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of Founder CEO Ariel Phạm and the entire team at The Outpost.

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