Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Some 50 artists are participating in an exhibition that opened today in downtown Hà Nội to showcase 30 years of the country’s renewal policy.
“It’s not an ordinary exhibition,” art critic Nguyễn Đức Bình, a curator of the Mở Cửa (Open Door) event hosted by the culture ministry, told Việt Nam News. “It aims to pay tribute to artists who have made considerable contributions to the country’s fine arts through the past 30 years. The public and the art circle will see the change in the field of fine arts as well as many other areas of our society.”
Vi Kiến Thành, head of the culture ministry’s Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition, said the artists were selected by three officials from the department, who acted as curators, namely art critic Bình, painter Nguyễn Hải Hà and Thành himself.
“Each of us drafted a list of artists with new creative thoughts and strong personal marks, and then we met and discussed,” he said. “Each of us explained why those artists were considered. We had to defend our choices before making the final list.”
The panel then asked each selected artist to send one work.
“The đổi mới [renewal] policy launched in 1986 brought along a good opportunity for artists to create,” curator Hà said. “But each artist renews him/herself in each new creation, every day.”
Vương Duy Biên, deputy minister of culture, said he was satisfied with the list.
“It will be very difficult for them to select the best 50 artists meeting all the requirements,” Biên said, “The final list may be not totally perfect for everyone, but I think it was well picked.”
There is no division of artists according to localities or forms of art. The 50 artists include painter Trần Lưu Hậu, who is the oldest (born in 1928). He now still continues to work on his art.
The youngest is sculptor Thái Nhật Minh (born in 1984).
Painter Vũ Tân Dân (1946-2009) is among the familiar names and among the pioneers in practising contemporary art in the country.
“At this event, I want to introduce a public work of art, since hardly anyone in Việt Nam is interested in this kind of art,” painter Ly Hoàng Ly said. “I don’t want my work to be seen as an ordinary statue, instead I want it to directly communicate with the audience.”
Mentioning the 30-year period since the renewal, painter Lê Anh Vân admitted that there have been several artists trying to express their thoughts in different ways.
“In 1977, when we were still studying at university, we felt the desire for change,” he said. “The reunification in 1975 was an important factor leading to the renewal of art in the next few years. Painter Trần Lưu Hậu, at that time our teacher, instilled in us similar feelings.”
Painter Hà Trí Hiếu believed that the revitalisation of fine arts stemmed from the 1970s and the renewal policy started in 1986 affected the arts and produced quite a few names.
“That period may be dubbed as the ‘season of fine arts’,” he said. “People such as Nguyễn Bảo Toàn can be considered a pioneer in installation, then came Trần Lương and Trương Tân. Since 2000, a new generation of painters of the contemporary arts has emerged. It’s regrettable they haven’t been promoted enough.”
Bình said the organisers hoped the event would make people think about the first phase of the renewal period, reflect on quiet moments in the art field and find a new way to further nurture the country’s fine arts in its international integration process today.
The exhibition is underway at the Việt Nam Fine Arts Museum on 66 Nguyễn Thái Học Street until September 28.
A book on the artists will be published after the event, in which each artist will introduce three of their works to the public. — VNS