arts • 10 Oct, 2017
We’re back as your eagle-eyed guide to what’s on in Saigon. Which is lucky for you, as in October there are quite a few things going on in the arts.
Su is at the Opera house. A prodigious painter from Hong Kong has his first solo show ever in our city. The Factory continue with their immersive double bills. Salon Saigon bring over a Korean concert pianist in collaboration with our first art auction house. Chaosdowntown host a four-day art project presentation. DIA Projects keep doing what they do best — introducing us to the best emerging artists — but they’ll now be known as MOT+++ (more on that later). And finally there’s a poetry festival, now in its second year.
Yiu Chi Leung’s ‘An Era Of Half Humanity’ @ Vin Gallery
Hong Kong artist Yiu Chi Leung’s work weighs as heavy with painterly technique as it does with its nihilistic themes. The build of brush marks means a piece can take up to three months to complete, here used to create large-scale, intricately woven images of junk-yards the artist first photographed out in Special Administrative Region’s New Territories.
Feral dogs and spacemen, or maybe scientists in anti-contamination suits, roam the post-apocalyptic jumble of twisted metal and refuse. One of the artist’s installation works (part of a growing engagement with found-objects), a car tyre with a spinning strip of blue neon around its inner well, whirrs near the renovated gallery’s entrance. “Art is, to me, a way to find out about myself,” the 34-year old told the South China Morning Post, after they named him as one of four young artists to watch.
When: 22th September - 20th November
Where: Vin Gallery, 6 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2
Why: An acclaimed Hong Kong artist, holding his first solo show in Vietnam at the reopened and renovated Vin Gallery, now focused on young up-and-coming artists.
Hoang Thanh Vinh Phong’s 'Paradise Lost' & 'Spirit of Friendship' Group Exhibition @ The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre
The theme of ‘paradise lost’ keeps recurring in our city that’s going under such a radical renovation, whether as the love letters to a disappearing urban landscape by Trong Lee or in Richard Fawcett’s pen and ink paeans to the city’s present and past.
For Hoang Thanh Vinh Phong the loss of paradise is realised, not unlike in Yiu Chi Leung’s works, through the fading out of figures in favor of a focus on inanimate objects — the ephemera of our existences. A pregnant woman looks down at her swollen belly, except her head, and her partner’s, has been replaced by household objects like pots and pans, hinting at the catastrophic effects of consumerism, or the failure of society’s promise of a ‘happy ever after’. The artist, a Hue Fine Arts graduate from Quang Tri now based in Hoi An, is the second to take part in the Factory’s ‘Materialize’ programme, after photographer Dat Vu in August.
And again, the Factory offers us two simultaneous shows. The second, the ‘Spirit of Friendship’ group exhibition, is a tribute to the power of artistic collaboration and communication — friendship as a propulsive creative force contextualised by the works of Vietnamese artists since 1975.
The exhibition, which contains testimonials, photographs and videos, is the beginning of a process of tracking collaborative artistic activities in Vietnam over the last 40+ years.
When: ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘The Spirit of Friendship’ are on show between 29th September and 26th November
Where: 15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, District 2
Why: Roaming around the Factory is our city’s most immersive art experience with two shows, and chances for a timeout with a coffee or in the gallery’s bar and restaurant.
'Đường Chạy' 0.1 @ Chaosdowntown Cháo
Chaosdowntown continue our sequence of October shows engaged with changing landscapes — whether physical or psychological — with 'Đường Chạy' 0.1. The show has the chaotic urban creatives getting experimental with this their latest project that aims to connect, more intimately, the roles of artist and curator.
Held over four different days, the project will include screenings, workshops, discussions and critiques, led by the local video and photography artists who have been asked to explore their own understanding of their local ecology — from spirituality to family bonds, to modernisation and the post-war condition.
When: 6th, 8th, 10th and 14th October
Where:121/61 Le Thi Rieng Street, District 1
Why: Chaosdowntown give our city’s art a more experimental edge and this project is as much about process as product.
Contemporary Dance: Urban distortions / transitscape & SUBOI @ Saigon Opera House
See where we’re going with this? A contemporary dance show, that’s also a convergence of art forms, again about urbanization and its effects. This exciting exploration of cityscapes is lent an extra edge by the participation of the Saigon rapper Suboi, last seen at the H&M opening.
Urban distortions / transitscape is supported by the Institut Francais who have brought us some of our favorite shows over the last few years, like Irma who we interviewed at Cargo in 2015. Here they’re bringing together a French-Belgian dance group, musician Teddy Chilla, and Su, who, rumour has it’s got some eclectic new music to drop any time soon.
Even staging this show in the Opera House, usually reserved for ballet or the thrilling, but traditionally-minded AO Show promises to re-contextualise flourishing urban art forms, like rap, in a fascinating way.
When: Saturday, 14 October, 2017
Where: Saigon Opera House, 7 Cong Truong Lam Son. Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Why: Something new for Su as the rap queen teams up with dancers and musicians on Saigon’s most famous stage.
Nocturne — An evening of Classical music and Contemporary Art @ Salon Saigon
There is no more intimate venue right now than Salon Saigon. And their Nocturne evening of art and classical music is exciting enough to have us avert from the urban themes of our October art round-up.
This ‘rare and intimate’ experience will include fine dining, a tour of the space by host Sandrine Llouquet and exhibiting artist, Florian Nguyen, as well as a ‘silent art auction’ (and that’s besides the permanent art collection already installed on the walls, like the hypnotic ‘Lightening In The U-Minh Forest’ by Hoang Duong Cam).
Korean concert pianist, Jinwoo Kim, will begin the night with a 45-minute piano recital of the works of Chopin that ends with a Vietnamese five-course dinner with Macallan and Chivas 28 Whiskey, and the auction, co-sponsored by Lithy Auction House, Vietnam’s first commercial art auctioneers.
When: Friday, October 13th, 2017 from 6.30pm
Where: 6D Ngo Thoi Nhiem, District 3
Why: Concert pianist, Jinwoo Kim, from Korea kicks off an enchanting evening all about art.
Le Hien Minh and Cam Xanh’s ‘bugs, birds…equations of the future’ @ MOT+++
Listen, Sean Puffy Combs did it, becoming Puff Daddy, then later P Diddy. So did Jay-Z, the ‘Jigga Man’, who shocked the world by dropping the hyphen to become Jay Z in 2013. And Drake was called Aubrey. And MC Hammer was called Stanley. So it’s fine for DIA Projects to become MOT+++.
The newly renamed gallery’s first show is called ‘bugs, birds…equations of the future’. It’s a duo show by two Vietnamese artists, Le Hien Minh and Cam Xanh, who recently returned from a project together at Taiwan’s International Art Fair.
This show is subtitled ‘L = L = L =’ with that hanging last equals symbol which leaves the audience to complete the equation. And the Ls stand for ‘life’, ‘love’, ‘liberty’, or maybe ‘laughter’, ‘loss’ and ‘legacy’. To this puzzle, Le Hien Minh and Cam Xanh add silkworms and sculpted birds — creating a narrative between bugs and birds worthy of a children’s fable.
When: October 13th 2017 – January 5th 2018
Where: MOT+++, Saigon Domaine, Ground Floor, 1057 Binh Quoi, Ward 28, Binh Thanh District
Why: A chance to see the DIA’s new iteration, MOT+++, present two Vietnamese artists with growing international reputations.
A-festival 2017 @ Coeverything
Closing out our list is a poetic event, the A-Festival, co-hosted by Coeverything and our friends (who we already mentioned) at the Factory. Now in its second year, the festival focuses in on the nature of poetic language, and the possibilities of expression in issues that touch on the personal, the experimental, gender, (in)visibility, and concepts around nationality and nationhood.
Also under the event’s microscope is the act of translation of poetic ideas itself — achieved through the deeper transferal of meaning rather than the shallower conversion of words alone. The two-day, two-venue programme starts on Sunday 15th October with a night of poetry and performance at Coeverything (146 Vo Van Tan). It continues during the day on the 16th, at the Factory, with a series of panel discussions, and ends in the same venue with a street poetry workshop and translation lab.
When: October 15th and 16th October
Where: Coeverything 1st Floor, 146 Vo Van Tan, District 3, and The Factory, 15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, District 2
Why: Poetry workshops with a streetwise-edge and panel discussions that dig into the art of translation of meaning.
Words by David Kaye