A Group Exhibition
with artists Bùi Công Khánh, Hồng Lĩnh, Lê Triều Điển, Nguyễn Đức Phương
Duration: 23.03.2021 — 29.05.2021
Location: Sàn Art
Unit B6.17 & B6.16
132 Bến Vân Đồn, Ward 6, District 4,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(enter from Nguyen Huu Hao side)
The resurgence of ceramics, and more generally speaking crafts, into contemporary art exhibitions has prompted endless debates over the last two decades: on dated views of high and low art, on a possible aesthetic function of art, on the classification of craft and fine art objects, or on the ability of traditional craft to be contemporary. If we follow the logical thread that contemporary art evolved from the dematerialisation of the art object then does craft’s attachment to skill and material automatically banish it from the fine art category? Or do its uniquely anachronistic and anti-mass production stances make it radical and avant-garde enough to secure its place in a broader definition of visual arts? Although no unanimous conclusion has been reached, it seems safe to say that its growing representation in institutions points out to an undeniable fact: craft has wedged its way as a valid voice and methodology for contemporary artists, a stance this exhibition wishes to acknowledge.
Rather than focusing solely on individual objects, ‘Impressions Unearth’ aims to consider the significance of each body-of-work and uncover how the present artists have, in their specific ways, explored, experimented, recontextualised ceramics and elevated them beyond craftsmanship. Connecting Bùi Công Khánh, Lê Triều Điển, Hồng Lĩnh and Nguyễn Đức Phương are ceramics that are in one way or another attached to vernacular traditions – whether in aesthetic, medium, theme, or site of production – but that have severed ties with notions of use and function. They are works that test the conceptual boundaries of the medium, objects that intellectualise, revive and honour Vietnamese heritage while expanding our perceptions of ceramics within contemporary art.
Bùi Công Khánh has established himself as a leading figure amongst regional artists who have used craft traditions as a catalyst for innovation. Stylistically his porcelain and celadon wares not only depart from their expected forms and uses but are also loaded with meaning, the material becoming a conceptual carrier for social critique. Placed in spatial and aesthetic opposition to him, artists Lê Triều Điển and Hồng Lĩnh’s raw and unbound works remind us of another voice: that of the visionary, self-taught artists defying mainstream gallery agenda. Their vibrant terracotta wares evoke a return to primal and instinctive forms of making, not meant to fit in any mould. Finally Nguyễn Đức Phương, also known as Phương Giò, stands at a cusp between fine and folk art, the closest to traditional craftsmanship in his adherence to themes and material. His ability to rejuvenate vernacular arts by imbuing them with humour and experimentation allows him to elude artesanal labels, craft becoming instead a stylistic preference within a more complex imagination.
The exhibition is supported by