KVT – The Road Home is a Beautiful Blur -05Oct 2012
About four times a year Diego and Laura of fashion and design house Chula host an art event at their extremely beautiful premises and residence right on the West Lake foreshore. These are called Chula Nights and the various courtyards are alive with music, sangria, fashion parades and cool people (Chula is Spanish for cool!) Gallery spaces and other walls are devoted to showcasing new work of a particular artist.
Last month were the photographs of exciting photographer Nguyen The Son and the more I see images of them the more assured I am of their outstanding quality. Being a story teller I can’t but help constructing scenarios as each comes up.
Son spent the last couple of years in Beijing studying for his Masters degree with some of Chinas best and avant garde photographic teachers. Earlier this year the Goethe Institute in Hanoi exhibited the photographic project that he would present to his university in Beijing and totally excellent it was.
As Son is one of Art Vietnam’s favorite artists their website is the ideal place to view his output of brilliant work on silk and his forays into print and photographics.
And also his bio.
I’m one of Son’s biggest fans and I really like the way that he never stays in the same photographic place. He’s always experimenting and pushing boundaries and his Chula show (courtesy of Art Vietnam) jumps away from the expected into a new and absorbing mode that dispenses with the classical approach so beloved of Vietnamese practitioners.
At first and second glance and then after a longer stare, the photographs look like painted canvasses and when you realize that they are actually photographs printed onto canvas, you almost swear that small marks of paint have been used to highlight or emphasize. But, no, it’s all ridgey didge photo.
It’s a fascinating and successful experiment that pushes the boundaries between the two artistic mediums.
The ten small canvas series is titled ‘The Road Home is Faraway’ and all prints are part of a nighttime journey from Hue to Hanoi which could be by train, car or motorbike, depending on the angle you wish to take in your mind. For Son it was actually lying on a sleeper bed in a bus heading home from a trip toHue to visit a friend. My angle is a sleepless time on a bus that is hurtling along Highway 1 in the wee small hours. It brings back lots of old memories of those long ago years when I determined to visit every Vietnamese province using public transport (bus or train) and succeeded. and succumbed to landscapes and people.
All are landscapes in motion, landscapes that flash by in a blur. They are presented as box framed glimpses and work really well both individually and as a series. Beautiful to slowly wander past and fascinating to take in individually.
They’re the type of art work you’d hang in a special place and spend lots of time with.
To add an historical dimension to Son’s work at Chula, some very fine silhouette prints of trees casting night shadows merge into the shadows of the altar room cum workshop cum display cum reception area. A couple also linger like memories on a sitting room wall
Another wall is highlighted by Son’s recent and exceptional prints of local Karaoke parlors on Do paper.
To view Son’s work just roll up to Chula anytime between, say 9 and 5 on working days and you’ll be able to wander freely through the pavilions and appreciate it all.
For art lovers and, in particular for lovers and makers of photography, Son will be giving a talk about his work on Saturday, October13, 5.30 to 7pm. A good time to enjoy the sunset over the lake at Chula, to socialize with a complimentary sangria or too, listen to some cool music and then sit back and relax on a fascinating photographic journey
Diego is an outstanding professional photographer too and as he has given Son’s work the seal of approval, it must be top notch.
PS: photographs aside, what initially sold me on Son were his ‘New Higher Level’ paintings on silk. These were buildings under construction and swathed in billowing striped canvas cloth.