Artist reflects on conflicts caused by development – Vietnamnews 14Oct2009

HA NOI — An art exhibition depicting the changing face of Viet Nam entitled New Higher Level by artist Nguyen The Son has opened at Art Viet Nam Gallery in Ha Noi.

Son, 31, is exhibiting a collection of 21 pictures that reflect what he calls the maelstrom of change.

The pictures focus on conflicts in Vietnamese society as a result of development.

“I feel a responsibility as a member of the younger generation of artists to bring art to a higher level,” Son says. “I try to represent the real value of life in humans, art, music, and literature.”

Son uses Chinese ink and natural pigments and paints on silk.

One depiction is of bamboo scaffolding wrapped in striped construction netting, megaphones dangle from concrete street lamps hung with a maze of wires, the voice of the past suspended by the current of the future. The painting appears to suggest that the modernisation of the country is covering a still-living past.

“I am very interested in Son’s collection since I understand what Son means by the title of the exhibition New Higher Level. What is being built in Viet Nam today is far more fundamental than anything we see. The buildings reflect the larger project that is the construction of a new Vietnamese identity, a new self. Son describes this phenomenon the only way one can – with the precision of a poet or a painter,” says the gallery’s art director Suzanne Lecht.

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