A new book featuring Vietnamese emerging artists has been released worldwide as a celebration of Vietnam’s vibrant contemporary art scene.
The English-language publication is the eighth project of Global Eye Programme, which was established in 2009 by Parallel Contemporary Art in collaboration with Saatchi Gallery in order to nurture artistic talent across Asia’s emerging art scenes.
Titled Vietnam Eye: Contemporary Vietnamese Art, the 300-page book introduces 56 artists who have been making increasingly confident steps toward a genuinely exciting art scene.
David and Serenella Ciclitira, founders of Parallel Contemporary Art, said when they visited Seoul in 2007, they didn’t find any book on the local contemporary art. They met similar circumstances in other big cities, driving them to initiate the Global Eye Programme to bring contemporary art in Asian countries closer to the public.
The book is edited by Ciclitiras and published by SKIRA, amongst the world’s most renowned publishers of art books. Alongside detailed information on each artists, it includes contextualising essays on Vietnamese contemporary art, offering an in-depth look at country’s artists.
It aims to introduce a part of Vietnam’s contemporary art between the doi moi (renewal) period (1986) and the present, giving domestic and international audiences another perspective on this country’s contemporary artists.
“The project contributes to the promotion of the Vietnamese art scene in general and helps foster understanding about Vietnamese society in terms of sharing human and artistic values with the public at large,” said Vuong Duy Bien, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
“The artists featured in the book, both established and young and emerging ones, have been and are still contributing to the development of a fascinating art scene in Vietnam since the mid-1980s,” he said.
An exhibition of 19 artists selected from the 56 featured in the book will run until January 13 at Casa Italia, 18 Le Phung Hieu Street, Hanoi.
The artists include Nguyen The Son with a photo relief "Houses Facing the Streets," Le Quy Tong with an acrylic on paper "True Gold," Nguyen Manh Hung with a mixed media entitled "Go To Market," Nguyen Huy An with an installation "The Great Table" and Vu Duc Trung with a lacquer on wood "Portrait of Water."
“I tirelessly seek out and decipher the tenuous links between remaining visual signs of the past etched upon the facades of the structures. I also look for things that arrive all at once then all disappear in the relentless spiraling circle of modern society,” said artist Son.
“My work is a combination of silk painting, photography and installation art that I call photo relief. Each project raises a question to me and the audience about the city’s values, which we used to have and try to build today and what they would become in the future.”
The exhibition is curated by Serenella Ciclitira, Nigel Hurst (CEO of Saatchi Gallery), Niru Ratnam (director of Global Eye Programme) and artist Trần Lương. Alongside the main exhibition there will be a series of satellite exhibitions, which will combine artist presentations and educational workshops for children and families.
“Together the book and the exhibition will offer an overview of one of the newest and most exciting scenes in the global art world,” said Ciclitira.
“Vietnam has developed rapidly in the last ten years with a new generation of contemporary artists who balance cultural and social issues with a contemporary outlook. This is a generation of artists who are aware of both the history of Vietnamese art as well the international art world.”
Ratnam, director of Global Eye Programme said he believed that the exhibition will show that Vietnamese contemporary art is now a phenomenon that international curators, writers and collectors should start looking at very seriously.
A number of exciting artworks will be displayed at the Saatchi Gallery in the UK to help further promote Vietnamese contemporary art to the world.