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Artworks raises awareness and emotions about nature

September 15, 2023 - 09:19

 "In The Forest", an exhibition presented by twin artists Lê Ngọc Thanh and Lê Đức Hải in a gallery in the capital reflects the authors' perspectives on nature and the environment.


Visitors look at the works at In The Forest exhibition. Photo toquoc.vn

HÀ NỘI — "In The Forest", an exhibition presented by twin artists Lê Ngọc Thanh and Lê Đức Hải in a gallery in the capital reflects the authors' perspectives on nature and the environment.

The showcase features a range of expansive oil-on-canvas artworks that have subsequently been transformed into painted antique door and wardrobe frames.

These vast horizontal oil paintings have neither a start nor a finish. They are marked by intersecting bands of colours, varying from warm and vibrant shades to cool and sombre ones.

"The paintings were created in the signature creative style of Lê Brothers," said the exhibition's curator Nguyễn Anh Tuấn.

"The duo took turns working on the expanses of colours to alternatively recite their emotions and awareness of the forest and of being in the forest. This recitation was presented in a continuous dialogue and a constant narration.”

"In The Forest", their latest endeavour, stands out from their previous works. Rather than merely serving as a backdrop for their mind-body-spirit narrative, this project portrays the entities of the external world as beings co-existing with the artists, facilitating a dialogue between them and their surroundings.

In this exploration, the artists convey their sentiments and cognisance of nature. Their emotions, deeply intertwined with nature, metamorphosed into the physical acts of painting – splashing, scratching, sanding, and caressing, resulting in the dynamic surfaces of the artworks.

Accompanying the paintings are moving-image videos, captured during their journeys through forests.

The recurring thought, "Tree, how old are you?" echoed in the artists' minds as they travelled through the forests of the northern Trường Sơn Range in the central province of Thừa Thiên Huế, wandered the mountainous terrains of the Central Highlands in Tây Nguyên, and journeyed to regions beyond their homeland.

"It always questions us when we touch an old tree in the forest," said artist Hải. 

"From our hearts, both hidden and unconscious like an echo from a distant source, a certain connection has been lost. Just as each person has their own land, origin, identity, history and places, they come and go. So where does nature come from, and where does it go?

"What is nature, whether it is the living environment and nourishment for all living beings or it is another living entity in which the living beings are part of the body and the cells of nature."


The exhibition displays a series of large oil-on-canvas paintings from the artists' recent project. — Photo courtesy of Mơ Art Space

Born in 1975 in the central province of Quảng Bình, Thanh and Hải initially gained attention for their Vietnamese lacquer paintings centred on war subjects. Both completed their studies at the Huế College of Art in 2000.

Subsequent to their painting careers, the duo ventured into performance and video art. They are renowned for their distinctive take on history, identity, and the juxtaposition of past within the present.

Their works have been showcased both nationally and internationally, with exhibitions at The Nord gallery in Berlin, Vietnam Eye in START at the Saatchi Gallery in London, Kumamoto Contemporary Art Museum in Japan, and the Live Performance Biennale 2015 in Canada.

Numerous national and international private collectors and museums, including the Singapore Contemporary Art, Museum Gwangju Museum of Art, and The Jim Thompson Art Center, house their pieces.

In a bid to foster global artist connections, they pioneered Việt Nam’s inaugural artists-in-residence initiative, the New Space Arts Foundation. Launched in April 2008, it stemmed from a gallery they had established in 2000.


The paintings were created in the signature creative style of the two artists. — Photo courtesy of Mơ Art Space

"In The Forest" is viewed as an addition to the historical dialogues between the flow of human consciousness and nature. The exhibition seeks to map out the journey of the concepts and efforts conveyed by the artists to their viewers, as noted by curator Tuấn.

The exhibition is open until October 29, from 9am to 8pm, Tuesday to Sunday, at Mơ Art Space, located at B3 136 Hàng Trống Street. — VNS