Wandering the Suburbs

A solo exhibition by Nguyễn Ngọc Liêm

Opening: 14.09.2019 @5:00pm
Duration: 14.09.2019 — 19.10.2019
Location: Sàn Art 
Millennium Masteri
Unit B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Ward 6, District 4,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(enter from Nguyen Huu Hao side)

Nguyễn Ngọc Liêm’s studio is based in Biên Hoà, a small industrial city where he grew up, and whose peri-urbanized landscape is absorbed into the painter’s oeuvre. Here, the bucolic and the urban interweave: repetitions of narrow tube houses and massive grim factories co-reside with resin and paperbark forests and the Đồng Nai river’s tidal rhythms. Local movements are progressively reshaped by the flow of goods along the beltways that rim this city, by the logic of efficiency and discipline, but it is not the monotonous infrastructure of industry or a clear text of the planned and readable city that slips into the paintings of Nguyễn Ngọc Liêm, but purified scenes, memory fragments of forest, sky, neighborhoods and personal chambers tinged with melancholy. Swelling the lives of prosaic objects onto large canvases and shrinking lush trees and marshes to an intimate size, the artist employs judicious ways of seeing, cropping, scaling and playing with perspectives, with the near and the far, to jolt our sensitivity awake, reorienting our gaze toward ordinary, un-monumental presences.


beltways that rim this city: Rich, Adrienne. 2012. ‘Reforming the Crystal.’ Collected Poems: 1950-2012. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

clear text of the planned and readable city: de Certeau, Michel. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, p. 93.

Excerpt from exhibition text by Nguyễn-Hoàng Quyên.

Learn more about the artist: http://san-art.org/producer/nguyen-ngoc-liem/