arts • 14 Jun, 2017
"I, Me, Mine": Journeys Into The Self
The 7th Saigon Artbook exhibition explores the murky depths of identity
Friday was an important day for Saigon’s art crowd, with the launch of the ‘I, Me, Mine’ exhibition that highlights the work of five of the newest contributors to the seventh annual Saigon Artbook.
Taking the theme of this year’s Artbook as their inspiration, throughout the exhibition artists Tran Kim Hoa, Xuan Ha (Grandmadeadxh), Hoang Nam Viet, Ao Kim Ngan (Yatender) and Do Nguyen Lap Xuan explore aspects of ‘the self’ through the interweaving elements of place, appearance and perception, asking what it is that makes up the human character.
Tran Kim Hoa explores the familiar terrain of female beauty through her work ‘Pained Woman’; a series of twisted, surrealist inspired portraits of working women that question modern society’s obsession with beauty and whether it is even relevant for women for whom survival and providing for their families is their main concern.
One of the larger spaces of the exhibition is occupied by delicate silk and paint works by Grandmadeadxh that explore gender roles through images of ungendered figures birthing and rebirthing through each other. A video installation re-enforces the theme, with a woman emerging in stages from a Buddha-like image.
The way in which we search for love in the modern world is explored through the photographic work of Yatender, who reconstructs the month she shared with a man she met on Tinder – the longest relationship she has found using the dating app and one which she says changed her profoundly.
Charcoal on paper drawings ‘A Civil War of Right and Left’ show continually rotating and wringing hands, which artist Hoang Nam Viet says represents the confusion of our thoughts, as well as his own personal struggle of being left handed and how he has had to change himself to conform with social norms.
The only performance art of the exhibition is from Do Nguyen Lap Xuan, who fills the room with the haunting sound of a pen being manically smashed against a five-metre piece of white parchment. She does so to create thousands of dots that she then erases in an equal frenzy, through which she wants to highlight the futility of much of our human endeavor.
Take a look at the impressive works of these young artists below:
Grandmadeadxh: “My work explores how women are controlled and constrained by social norms. I show a woman's unconscious woman.”
From left: artists Xuan Ha (Grandmadeadxh) and Thy Tran
Yatender: "It was my longest romantic meeting; one month together. I gave him a lot of myself.”
Artist Yatender (Ao Kim Ngân)
Tran Kim Hoa on her artwork: “The women I painted have struggled with life – maybe they cannot be beautiful. I paint gruff faces infused with memory.”
Artist Tran Kim Hoa (right)
Artwork by Hoang Nam Viet
Artist Hoang Nam Viet (middle): “As a left handed person I have constantly been in a ‘civil war’ with my hands, having to learn to write and draw with my right hand.”
Do Nguyen Lap Xuan: “Every day people try to possess and manipulate. Thinking of this I flood the paper with dots then erase them.”
MTV VJ Kaylee in front of an artwork by Tran Kim Hoa
From left: curator Le Thien Bao, artist Peter Park, The Factory's Art Director Zoe Butt, designer Tom Trandt
Shyevin S'ng, co-curator of the exhibition
Artwork by Tran Kim Hoa
Artwork by Hoang Nam Viet
Artwork by Xuan Ha
From left: Saigon Artbook's co-founder Dang Thanh Long, Managing Editor of AnyArena Hoa Pham, designer Tom Trandt
“Immerse”, animation/art installation by Xuan Ha
‘I, Me, Mine’ exhibition runs from 10 June to 23 July at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, 15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, D.2
Photos by Huy Do
Words by Rebecca Jones