|Soul of Viet Nam: Parts of Honda Dream motorbike displayed stands bearing abstractions of mythological motives constantly active in the Vietnamese culture such as tortoise, clouds and dragon. — VNS Photos Minh Thu
HA NOI (VNS) — Parts of the Honda Dream motorbike are symbolising the dreams of Vietnamese people are displayed in Spanish sculptor Jorge Rivera's exhibition in Ha Noi.
Entitled "Dream", the exhibition features the Honda Dream motorbike, the quintessential symbol of luxury and prestige in the early 1990's, as an icon for the fantasies and dreams of Vietnamese people.
Rivera was fascinated with the relationship the Vietnamese have with their motorbikes, how much of their everyday lives spins around these old machines, how they literally sleep, eat and live on them.
He discovered the marvels of local marble while travelling in Central Viet Nam two years ago and spent months there to create artwork for the exhibition.
"The exhibition is my personal attempt to portray the spirit, the essence and the strength of the Vietnamese character," he said. "My intention is to get close to who the Vietnamese are as human beings, their dreams, identity and aspirations, using the intimate relationships they have with their motorbikes as the tool to explore and expand on their persona."
The show consists of nine marble pieces, a short video projection, three large silk paintings and a selection of sketches of the pieces and a film.
"I display the sculptures of different parts of motorbikes as dismembered parts of a larger body, they are somehow different stages of dreaming," he said.
Rivera displayed marble sculptures on stands made from white marble, burnt wood and stone bearing abstractions of mythological motives active in Vietnamese heritage, traditional art and craftsmanship.
The film intercuts footage of the making of the marble pieces with footage that the artist has gathered from his motorbike journeys throughout the country, with references to the mythological animals and elements staged in popular celebrations such as the lion or the dragon dance.
The large silk paintings portray the body of a motorcyclist without the motorbike.
"The bodies painted on translucent silk are like ghosts or dreamy images floating and being driven by a non-existent vehicle," said Suzanne Lecht, curator of the exhibition.
"The exhibition's worthy to contemplate especially as it's created by a foreign artist. It's a special exhibition that we may not sell any artwork from because the marble sculptures are too heavy and bulky."
Rivera gained his PhD degree in sculpture from the Royal College of Art in London. He has exhibited widely internationally and has participated in artist in residency programmes recently in Taiwan, Tokyo and Berlin.
The exhibition will run until November at the Art Vietnam Gallery, 24 Ly Quoc Su Street, Ha Noi. — VNS