arts • 17 Feb, 2017
On Now: ‘Mindscapes & Mystic Spaces’ by Nguyen Cam
Salon Saigon & Art Vietnam Gallery Welcome Back an Old Friend
“In art, you have to be very free.” - Nguyen Cam, February 15th 2017
This week AnyArena was invited to an opening of specific importance. Nguyen Cam, the internationally exhibited artist is showing a collection of his work in Saigon for the first time in twenty years.
Having trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (1969-73) and returned to Vietnam in 1994, 40 years after his family’s exodus in 1954, the Hai-Phong native has a career that spans the length and metaphorical breadth of this country. It also includes an influence that can’t be underestimated.
“Getting people to understand abstract painting at that time wasn’t really possible,” he said, referring to the time just after his return and before he was invited to teach at Hanoi’s own School of Fine Arts (1996-97), “but after this there was an explosion.”
Exhibiting mainly in Hanoi since his emotional homecoming (while continuing to show around the world) Cam’s return continues to act as a traffic light both personally and professionally. “When I returned to Vietnam, the emotion was so intense that I transformed my previous work, revealing an intimate link with the memories of a country damaged by history’s monsoons, which my exile had ridden, ” he writes on his Art Vietnam Gallery profile.
On the current show held at District Three’s Salon Saigon, curated by close friend Suzanne Lecht of Art Vietnam Gallery, he told AnyArena; ‘The show is a retrospective of my 44-year career, with a common theme of what I feel about the present and spiritual life in Vietnam.’
If you care about art in this country, we think you should go and see it for yourself. It continues at Salon Saigon until March 15th.
Nguyen Cam (far right) and friends
'Eternity', 2009 by Nguyen Cam
'Calligraphic Fields II'
Salon Saigon is at 6D Ngo Thoi Nhiem, D3, HCMC.
Words by jonaspin
Photos by Masha