|Vietnamese artist Trần Việt Hà is pictured at her solo exhibition, The Female Gaze. — Photo courtesy of the artist|
SORIA — Photographs of Vietnamese women in traditional dresses are on display at an exhibition at Ducal Palace of Medinaceli, Spain.
Showcasing over 30 photographs, The Female Gaze marks the first time Madrid-based Trần Việt Hà has showcased such a large number of Vietnamese photographs, some of them were created in collaboration with famed fashion designers Văn Thành Công and Hulos Prive (Huỳnh Hải Long).
Hà’s solo show, curated by Foundation DEARTE Contemporary, also includes her signature romanticism-style portraits of Western women that have been widely published around the world.
The photographs were taken by the Vietnamese artist from the beginning of her career to during the COVID-19 pandemic.
|The Female Gaze features Hà's portraits of Vietnamese women in traditional dresses. — Photo courtesy of the artist|
“This is my first physical exhibition since the COVID-19 pandemic and I was very nervous during the preparation process since I wanted to create a very special exhibition that is truly worth a visit and provokes strong emotions,” Hà told Việt Nam News.
“There is a strong interest in the Spanish public in art and cultural activities since the pandemic, hence this motivated me a lot to create a unique and meaningful exhibition, especially at such a beautiful and historical place like Ducal Palace of Medinaceli.”
The highlights of The Female Gaze are Hà’s two award-winning and globally published series with a focus on Việt Nam – The Lotus Lake and The Golden Imprint – that she photographed in Hà Nội and HCM City respectively in 2013 and 2014. By showcasing two special series, the photographer aims to promote Vietnamese beauty to the Spanish public.
|A photo in The Lotus Lake series is exhibited at The Female Gaze. — Photo courtesy of the artist|
“What I have noticed is after such a strange and tough time of the COVID-19 pandemic, people tend to look within their souls and appreciate all kinds of beauty and emotions. The pandemic changed the way people look at life and beauty,” the artist said.
“Through this exhibition, I wanted to highlight the beauty of all kinds of emotions through the women's portraits: sadness and suffering, happiness and joy. All these states of mind are human and there is beauty in it.
“For example, the photographs in The Lotus Lake series talk about remaining pure and calm amidst the murkiness, as you know the lotus flower grows out of the muddy water of the lake. The photographs of women in water talk about broken dreams and the strength to overcome disappointment and sadness. A wound is where the light enters and if we learn how to accept the suffering, we can transform it into an infinite source of strength. Every experience, no matter how horrible it might seem, holds a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it,” she added.
The Female Gaze will run until November 28.
Hà is well known for her emotionally dense and endlessly compelling photographs of women. Her art emphasises fantasy and imagination as a source of aesthetic experience. Instead of taking photos, she tries to paint women’s emotions, inner dreams, intimacy, poetry, and philosophy with her camera.
The Madrid-based Vietnamese artist is a fine art photographer and multi-disciplinary artist whose name is officially listed in the art market since 2015 and published in over 120 newspapers and magazines around the world. In 2020, she was commissioned by Louis Vuitton Paris to paint a large abstract painting for the inauguration of an international store.
Her photographs have been featured on the Spanish national news Expansión, El Economista and El Adelantado, The Times of India, The Hindu, Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair France, at Saatchi Gallery London, and were auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong for charity. In addition, her works have appeared in physical public auctions in Spain alongside works by Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Banksy and Andy Warhol.
The Ducal Palace of Medinaceli was declared a Spanish National Asset of Cultural Interest in 1979. Since 2005, the Palace has been home to Foundation DEARTE Contemporary who converted the space into a museum and centre of contemporary art. It is the most active art centre in the province of Soria, organising multiple art, historical, cultural and musical activities throughout the year. — VNS