Nha Mat Pho Hanoi, Nha Mat Pho Ho Chi Minh City-Art Vietnam Gallery
Artist Nguyen The Son, philosopher, Chinese scholar, painter and now photographer appears again to shake our values, to make us question, Where are we going now? At what price, this new highly touted progress?
After taking a two year leave of absence from his teaching position at Vietnam Fine Arts University, Son has just completed his masters in Photography at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing under the direction of the internationally acclaimed artist Miao Xiaochun, known for pushing the boundaries of Digital Art. With such a dynamic teacher, Son too has been examining and pushing the boundaries of photography in Vietnam, a medium sadly neglected in the arts education.
Following on the footsteps of his Under Construction and New Higher Level series of works on silk, which examined the ever changing values of the Vietnamese society, Son in his new series “Nha Mat Pho” (House facing the street) examines again another quintessentially Vietnamese phenomena of having a narrow house with precious street frontage that is the symbol of power and prosperity. Son exhibited his first series of Nha Mat Pho at the Goethe Institute in Hanoi in March 2012. The artist photographs the billboards, and then constructs a photographic sculpture of many layers, reusing the details of the photograph.
An ensuing photographic sculpture emerges, a 3 dimensional work in front of which the viewer is invited to finish the work by their presence, in which the viewer becomes a part of the visual game. These embossed photos are captivating and innovative in their style and message as Son is the first to expose a kind of digital photography in the sculptural form. Currently Son is continuing this series with Nha Mat Pho Ho Chi Minh City which will open this week November 10 at the Cactus Gallery.
Ever attuned to the poetics of change and the interplay of progress and purchasing power, Nguyen The Son poses a few well-wrought questions: Who controls the energy behind Vietnam’s societal transformation? What is lost or effaced on the superhighway to development? Who are we becoming, how do we participate, and where are we going now? This exacting and evocative, genre-bending series of photographic sculptures is nothing short of revolutionary. Nha Mat Pho examines a post-modern concept, a phenomenon, in which the content of the art is not really finished. The artist only starts the process, creating a visual game in which the public can partake.
Nguyen The Son, in his incessant questioning does not disappoint, he pushes our intellect and our curiosity to go beyond the traditional, the preconceived idea. I congratulate Son on yet another brilliant exhibition for the thinking man.
Suzanne Lecht Art Vietnam Gallery