Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Joint Neo-expressionism exhibition set to amaze art lovers in VN capital

Joint Neo-expressionism exhibition set to amaze art lovers in VN capital

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Choi Chim (Ornamental Bird), acrylic, 97cm by 145cm, by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Van The. The five Vietnamese neo-expressionistic painters have chosen neo-expressionism to send a message about life and their dreams. Viet Nam News/ANN

Joint Neo-expressionism exhibition set to amaze art lovers in VN capital

The works of five neo-expressionistic painters will be on display at a group exhibition opening in Hanoi on April 3.

The artists are Nguyen Van The, Phạm Thanh Toan, Hoang Khanh Du, Dang Thanh, and Le Thua Ngoc Hai, who have chosen neo-expressionism to send a message about life and their dreams.

It is a rare exhibition, according to Bui Quang Thang, art director of the Viet Nam National Institute of Arts and Culture Studies (VICAS) Art Studio.

“Neo-expressionism appeared in the late 70s, initiated by a group of German painters. It was developed as a reaction against minimalism and conceptualism which were dominating European art at the time based on things not connected with reality or the sensuousness of art.

“Neo-expressionism then spread to various countries in Europe and flourished in the US with important artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Elizabeth Murray. In everyday language, this movement is also called ‘bad painting’.”

The five artists selected for the exhibition are clearly neo-expressionists, though some are spontaneous and instinctive while others researched about the genre and are more deliberate, he said.

“It is their contribution to making the language of neo-expressionism today more diverse and more personalised.”

Self-taught painter The went through a period of doing abstracts before switching to neo-expressionism though he did not have any idea about this style. He said he merely paints following the instincts of an artist.

“In his abstract style, we can see the sprawling and transformative colours,” Thang explained.

“His symbolic strokes flow unobtrusively with the rhythm of jazz. They are always charming.”

Toan, 27, is the youngest artist in the group but has imbibed consciously from major neo-expressionists.

“He understood and mastered the spirit and the characteristics of this style to gather them all and create his own works.” Thang said.

“The unconscious obsessions are always somewhere in his paintings, such as death obsession, thoughts on eternity, dreams of flying high, nightmares about free fall, big scenes full of colours, sounds and sexuality that are only seen in big dreams.”

Du, an ethnic Tay man, said he always brings his ethnic culture and identity into his works.

“I believe there are two parallel worlds existing and having a strong connection, our world on Earth and the world of gods and ancestors.”

Thanh became a neo-expressionist after a bout of depression. A year ago he was faced with hardships in life that caused severe psychological hurt. His passion for art helped him overcome the problem, and selling his paintings also helped him escape from financial difficulties.

He almost forgot what he learned at art school and found his own style, painting completely from his imagination. At the exhibition he has a series of paintings on feminism.

Hai said he loves “bad paintings” because the genre reflects the negative side of society.

“The chair symbolising social power and those who desire to occupy it along with the people with wings wanting to fly high but unable to escape from that reality frequently appear in the series named ‘Wings’ in this exhibition,” Thang explained.

“I think that is the complicated and contradictory inner self of the artist himself and of many others in our society today. Yet, his paintings are more romantic than gloomy.”

The exhibition, at the VICAS Art Studio, 32 Hào Nam Street, will run until April 28. Viet Nam News/ANN

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • Cambodia, Singapore to ‘move on’ from Lee remarks storm

    Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam have agreed to move on from the controversy caused by remarks from Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and follow the path of cooperation, dialogue and friendship. The foreign ministers of the three countries had separate telephone conversations on Friday