|Wallflower: The Japanese wife-and-husband couple Kami and Sasu drew a wall mural on the main premise of the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Viet Nam as part of their Abilight exhibition in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Duc Thinh
HA NOI (VNS)— A giant wall mural at the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange has brightened the entire building, which is especially welcoming on grey and rainy winter days in Ha Noi.
The blue mural, depicting a large multi-petal flower and several bold curved lines, is part of the art display entitled Abilight – the Viet Nam debut exhibition of the Japanese artistic collaboration Hitotzuki.
Founded in 1999 by the wife-and-husband couple, Kami and Sasu, it seeks to promote creativity rooted in the dimension of street culture, as the artworks present the harmony between that which is feminine and masculine.
Their distinctive worldview stems from the interaction between the dynamically flowing curves fashioned by Kami – the husband, and the strong and flamboyant symmetric motifs engineered by Sasu – the wife. This vision breathes new life into the sense of beauty derived from the street, and has succeeded in invigorating the era with a steady of vivid new landscapes.
"Hitotzuki stands for the sun and the moon, being contrary to one another. They differ, but fuse together. That is how we are. And this ideology has also been reflected in all our works," Sasu said.
When asked about the meaning of the exhibition's name, the couple explained: "Abilight is a newly coined word by the couple, deriving from ‘Abi[lity]' and ‘Light'.
"It conveys a positive message to the visitors in Viet Nam to share a forward-looking feeling," they added.
The couple worked nine days to complete the mural paintings in the main building of the Japan Foundation Centre.
"Although we did not have any difficulty while creating many giant murals before, we were challenged by the wall at the Japan Foundation Centre in Viet Nam. There are many deep lines, which are original dcor details for the wall, as well as permanent lights. Of course, it is easier to paint on a smooth surface than on a rough one," Kami said, when asked about the project in Ha Noi.
While wandering Ha Noi streets during their breaks, the couple found many interesting places. "We hope we will have the chance to draw those places on our next visit to Ha Noi," said Sasu.
Alongside painting murals, the couple has also designed a series of products, ranging from t-shirts, bags, key chains, caps, skateboards, watches, and mugs, with their signature motifs. These products can also be seen at the exhibition.
"I have no idea about art, but I was attracted by flamboyant colours, which, in my opinion, express the strong vitality and the youth of the young artist couple," a Japanese-language student said.
The murals also impressed older visitors.
"It can be said there are two words describing Japanese culture: refined and sophisticated. Although the artists draw murals with modern symmetric motifs, I still able to see those features in their artworks," Kim Anh, a middle-age woman, said.
Before their Viet Nam debut, the couple had unveiled their murals in Praha in 2008, Berlin in 2009, Melbourne in 2010, and Los Angeles in 2011.
Alongside the Hitotzuki exhibitions, each artist also has a solo exhibition.
The Abilight exhibition will continue until February 16, 2014 at 27 Quang Trung Street. — VNS