Vietnam art reflects country in transition

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 August, 2012, 6:22pm

Vietnam Now

The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Central

Vietnamese contemporary art, which made a splash on the local commercial art scene almost two decades ago, might seem a little yesteryear now. However, a group exhibition at The Rotunda promises an up-to-date look at the genre through the works of six artists, spanning mediums from sculpture and ink painting to photography.

"Vietnam Now", curated by Suzanne Lecht of Hanoi-based Art Vietnam Gallery, showcases Nguyen Thi Chau Giang, Ha Tri Hieu, Nguyen Thi Chinh Le, Nguyen The Son, Nguyen Quang Thang and Le Quoc Viet. Together they portray a country in transition.

"How to modernise without losing one's tradition and culture is a dilemma faced by Vietnamese of all ages and all walks of life," writes Lecht in her curatorial statement.

Chinh Le's sculptural series in bronze veers away from traditional figurative representation but her slightly absurd creations are rooted in Buddhist philosophy that looks at the trials and tribulations of being alive in today's complicated world.

The narrow Vietnamese house is seen as a symbol of power and prosperity, and photographer and silk painter Son's Nha Mat Pho ("house facing the street"), a 3-D sculptural work of photos of a house frontage, asks viewers to examine what power and prosperity look like today in Hanoi.

Thang and Viet, both Vietnamese nom scholars ( chu nom is an ancient writing that was practised, up to mid-last century, exclusively by the elite and intellectuals), will be at The Rotunda on Thursday for a piece of performance art.

There's also a documentary about the artists.

Kevin Kwong

Fri-Sep 9, 9am-7pm (Thu, 6pm, interactive calligraphy performance by Viet and Thang). Inquiries: 2500 0533