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When we observe the universe, in fact, we are seeing it in the past. Similarly, seeing the artworks of Bui Cong Khanh, Nguyen Hai Dang, Nguyen Dinh Hoang Viet is seeing the past of them. All the three painters choose a very small size of paper – A4, A3 and close subjects to draw: familiar people, familiar places, familiar objects. They met at Go Fish Studio, Hoi An in the exhibition named “Time slot”, took place from 18.5 to 18.7.2018. The endless time slots in those paintings, bringing viewers into space where the past – present – future movements are constantly moving and falling into each other.
Like the star, the paintings emit their own light. If we see the sparkle, it is because of the “atmosphere” in the viewer’s mind, when it touches the light of the past.
Dang and “The Age”
Born in 1991 in Sai Gon in a Catholic family, Nguyen Hai Dang has had a passion for painting since he was young. When growing up, wondering whether to pursue art or become a monk, Dang decided to become an artist and now he is the student of Ho Chi Minh University of Fine Arts.
Since 2016, Dang has suddenly realized the age of his grandparents and remembered his childhood living with his grandparents. Finding out how suddenly he became with his grandparents, how many stories about his grandparents he does not know, but time doesn’t wait for anyone, Dang came to chat with his grandparents in the daytime and drew in the evening. And so, small pictures came out. Up to now, after two years, Dang has painted about 60 paintings.
11 oil paintings with the theme “The Age” chosen in this exhibition is what is closest to him, as he said. His grandparents appear directly or indirectly through the scene or the object. It is the prayer time of his grandparents, the nap time when his grandparents lie next to each other, the bathroom of paternal grandmother, the dining table of maternal grandmother, sauce bottle, kettle or the kitchen,… For Dang, the moment of drawing is the moment he can feel the bond between him and his grandparents.
Viet and “The Story of Paper”
Nguyen Dinh Hoang Viet was born in 1988 in Dak Lak. Viet has a deep concern about dead animals or damaged goods and wants to learn about their silence. In 2013, one year after graduating Hue College of Arts, Viet immediately impressed with the first solo exhibition named Weekday Diary. His second solo exhibition at Manzi asserted his personal identity – a series of dead fish, dead crabs, cracked glass, fracture…
Viet brought to the exhibition nine paintings. Paper is a character in his painting. However, “The Story of Paper” is not simply depicting the paper, it opens the story of two drawing people: Do – Viet’s nephew and Viet – the artist. The age gap and the difference in perception and soul between Viet and Do is planished in the paper. When seeing his paintings, the viewer may ask themselves: Viet is the past, Do is the future or vice versa?
Khanh and “The Ghost of Memory”
Khanh is the initiator of Go Fish Studio. He was born in 1972 in Hoi An. He graduated from Ho Chi Minh University of Fine Arts in 1988. For him, the history of his hometown is broken and cannot be seamless because of the new owners and the change of scenery. What was lost in Hoi An: the ancient banyan tree, the roof before restoration, the dead people and what remained patchy,… became the soul of his artworks.
6 paintings of “The Ghost of Memory” in a project about multimedia and memory is selected for display at the exhibition “Time slot” by Khanh. The scenes in his paintings look like the crispy and transparent fragments that Khanh peeled off from his mind and then mount them on the picture. Khanh used the watercolor on paper to express thoroughly his ideas.
In the six paintings, there is a painting whose background is inside the blue metro in Singapore. Khanh confided, during the occasion in this country, he could saw the figure of the ghost memory most clearly. The ghost memory – it has hidden in Khanh too long and decided to reveal when Khanh far away from his hometown. On the other hand, Khanh himself is the ghost memory, go through the time and space by his ability of painting.