HÀ NỘI — A new series of paintings by visual artist Lê Quý Tông, one of the important figures of Vietnamese contemporary art, are on display at Manzi.
Entitled Thổn Thức Mênh Mang (Neo-Romanticism), the exhibition features 20 mixed-media works on canvas and paper – just a small part of an extensive amount of work that Tông has created over the past four years.
It also marks the artist’s return to Manzi after over seven years since his solo show titled True Blue (2015), which began his ongoing experiment with an ‘input hybrid’ of painting, decorated pattern and found imagery.
|Art lovers enjoy the works displayed at the 'Neo-Romanticism' at Manzi Exhibition Space in Hà Nội — Photos courtesy of Manzi|
Along with showcasing a new technique, screen printing, in the artist’s practice, this comeback also sees a dramatic change in the colour palettes: neither limited to monochromatic colour schemes nor restrained in the deep, sombre shades as in his previous series, True Blue and True Gold.
Conversely, Neo-Romanticism witnesses a bloom in a wide variety of colours, including both bold and subtle, fiery and dusky hues.
Beyond the new method and palette, which got an air of Pop Art style, and further, than just the outer expansion in visual accomplishment, viewers will be looking for any ‘breakthroughs’ in the inner of this artist’s latest expedition.
According to Manzi’s art manager, Linh Lan, the first bar to jump over is the starting point of all Tông’s paintings – the photographic documentation.
“These images sourced from historical archives and mass media are easily accessible by an online image search engine," she said. "Rather than intentionally select an image that would anchor his own composition and navigate the viewer’s perception, Tông randomly singles out a photo that he found intriguing as an input element; its original context is of very little significance.”
|A woman looks at paintings by Lê Quý Tông at his show Neo-Romanticism taking place in Manzi in Hà Nội.|
Besides playing with the massive visual archives by deconstruction and collage, this new body of works by Tông confronts viewers with a series of new ‘keywords’ (that can be stated clearly in the form of letters, written texts or presented by figures, drawings) which are Love, Heart, Romantic(ism), Dreamer, Acrobat, Youth.
“This system of keywords acts as an intermediary that stimulates our imagination and evokes our feelings, thus, thoughts and interpretations can be liberated from political, moral and cultural discourses,” Lan said.
The art manager also said that with Neo-Romanticism, the artist has put on a pair of spiritual wings that are youthful and audacious; he now embraces both past and present and human beings as a tangle of reality and illusion, passion and brutality, authenticity and violence.
Neo-Romanticism opens to the public until April 22, from 11am to 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday, at Manzi Art Space (14 Phan Huy Ích Street) and Manzi Exhibition Space (2 Hàng Bún Alley, Ba Đình District, Hà Nội). Free entrance. — VNS