Female artist uses silk painting to create dream fragments

May 10, 2024 - 11:54


A silk painting by Lê Nguyễn Minh Như at the exhibition Fragment - Depiction at the Ô Art Bar. Photo coutersy of the artist

HÀ NỘI — An exhibition taking place in HCM City showcases silk paintings of emerging artist Lê Nguyễn Minh Như. 

Entitled Fragment - Depiction, the exhibition recalls Như's technique of tracing creative impulses. Since 2021, the female artist has been practicing recording fragments of dreams to examine the ambiguity of life.

While silk paintings are more traditionally associated with themes in Việt Nam's art history, Như's artworks offer a lens to the disconnection of the young, the fear of not belonging and the existential crisis in the contemporary social chaos. 

"I used to think that life progressed in a straight line: you grew up, got old, and then passed away," Như said. "But life is far more flimsy than that."

During Covid, when the world came to a standstill and the quarantine was mandated, Như could hardly recall how she got by. The only images that linger in her mind are the barbed wire fences at the roadblocks, the flashing lights of the few cars allowed on the streets and the lives permanently stuck in that moment.

These personal experiences and memories have been overshadowed by what is known as the 'collective memory' of a nation.

Amidst the cacophony of society, Như painted characters who embody this collective identity, hair intricately braided, symbolising an unbreakable connection.

Confronted by the precariousness and interdependence of life, Như s art aspires to become a prayer, offering solace in the face of solitude and isolation, where individual voices are suffocated by the demands of society and where the memory of death and life is consensually abandoned.

Như s vision is to connect herself to others and look at personal memories in relation to collective memories to perceive a sense of misalignment, uncertainty, confusion or loss.

This skepticism echoes the haunting imagery of Japanese artist Tetsuya Ishida, where figures hover their gaze between reality and abstraction, fragmented and transient.

It's us all carrying the memories of those forced to endure the pressure of existential crisis according to Như.

The exhibition opens from 12pm to 10pm, from Tuesday to Sunday at Ô Art Bar, 292/15 Điện Biên Phủ Street, Ward 17, Bình Thạnh District, HCM City. — VNS