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Exhibition “Heafod”- an obsession with human beings
Jenna Duong 04:07, 2023/07/27
The exhibition presents the unique, personal, and creative world of a renowned contemporary Vietnamese artist.

The fourth solo exhibition of Vietnamese artist Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, titled "Heafod", is on view at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi until July 31.

The exhibition, titled "Heafod," is on display at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum until July 31. Photo courtesy of the museum

Featuring 19 of Nguyen Ngoc Phuong's most recent works, the exhibition offers a unique interpretation of the human soul, disinterest and/or ontological uncertainty, and existential anguish.

According to professional art critics, "The Heafod" marks the cornerstone of Phuong's novelty in visual art. His paintings combine marks and traces, accidental and active, which later become more emphatic and proactive, like scratches and cuts on the skin.

All the works on display are titled "The Heafod", also the exhibition's name. The brushstrokes and internal impulses merge on the ground and surface, creating a strong sense of interaction and catalysis with the viewer. The human silhouettes fade into the backgrounds, the only thing that exists in the paintings are the heads.

"After more than 10 years of making the series "cai dau" (The Heafod) - it is a recreation of the obsession in my mind about humanity," the artist said.

Visitors to the exhibition of painter Pham Ngoc Phuong. Photo: Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts

According to artist Yen Nang, looking at some of the series Phuong has made over the past ten years, which represent different periods of his own research to find a new medium from different mentations, contexts and times, it is easy to see that what all the 'heafod' have in common is that they have no senses or clear senses, except for the intense tactile surface.

"They seem to crack, to bulge under internal pressure, as well as being compressed by the weight and tension that threatens to tear them apart," he said.

"His inner expression in The Heafod series can be said to have reached the stage of rage, expressing both the anger within him and the reality of today's society through the facial expressions of his work," Nang added.

Most of the recent works that Phuong presents this time are created on lacquer, synthetic adhesives, gold leaf, silver leaf, hard, medium, and soft rock deposits, soapstone, unconsolidated colluvial soil, soft or loose soil, and other "found materials" on fiberboard. With his strong creative ability and mastery of art media, he configured a new medium that had never existed before, suitable for his artistic idiosyncrasy, with an eponymous medium that could be called 'Nguyễn Ngọc-Phương'.

 A corner of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of the museum

Nguyen Ngoc Phuong was born in Hanoi in 1975. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts and then received a Master of Arts from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts. Previously, Nguyen Ngoc Phuong focused on semi-abstract works, then he gradually switched to abstract works.

Nguyen Ngoc Phuong has had solo exhibitions at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum with the theme "The 49th Day" - Parts 1 and 2 (2018) and "Niem" or Opinion (2021). Many of his works have been exhibited in galleries and museums in Southeast Asia, such as Yogia Gallery (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Penang State Art Gallery (Penang, Malaysia), and others.


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