arts • 01 Jun, 2015
‘Dia/Projects’ Gallery Space Draws Open Its Doors
A New Art Space Upstairs On Dong Khoi
Dia/Projects’ door is open on Dong Khoi. It’s ‘a space for contemporary art’ not so conceptual it couldn’t get things started with a group show that pushes ‘The Primacy of Drawing’.
The space is standard — a long rectangular room — but with a leafy sun-brushed balcony at one end. It would feel bare, except for being entirely decorated with the work of five artists, right down to collaborative pieces pencilled in the corners.
The concept fits, a new gallery opening with a show specially about the skill that is at art’s foundation — drawing. It’s a skill often blissfully unaware of the planning and preparation that usually goes into a painting or a finished product like a sculpture. It’s like a gym workout before a bout. Or a beta test before a site launch.
Dia/Project’s co-founders Richard Streitmatter-Trần and Thanh Hà Morgue đ'Algue have selected five artists with Saigon connections and separate (but sometimes overlapping) takes on the art of making pencil marks.
Hoang Nam Viet’s lyrical Post-Impressionist sketches are so technically adept they create an unbearable tension that’s relieved by funny surrealist touches, like his figures pulling on toothbrush pipes (in place of cigarettes). Next to him, Sandrine Llouquet lays out ten years of magic-realist sketchbook pages on a table and across the wall.
Opposite Aya Otani’s portrait’s ideas take flight. She’s folded and stuck paper butterflies, and has drawn hundreds more, and bees, fluttering and buzzing right up to the roof. By the balcony, Lys Bui lays the process of her digital prints of buildings bare, showing initial drawings above the images they became. And in between Mai Thi Tran shows figurative drawings and prints.
“We want to sustain the incredible opening with a series of shows or ‘projects’ based on ideas that we’ve been formulating for a while. We’ll have group and solo shows like the Map Office [Hong Kong art collective] in October, ” Richard explains. “And in between we want to host pop-up events that engage the wider artistic community of people creatively approaching their craft — designers or stylists, maybe even a chef,” he smiles.
Co-founders Thanh Hà Morgue đ'Algue & Richard Streitmatter-Trần
Thanh Hà Morgue đ'Algue
Where: 103 Dong Khoi, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh
When: Mon - Sat: 10:00–18:00
Learn More About Dia/Project here
Photos by Cao Tri