Contemporary art on show in capital

Nearly 500 works of various art forms including painting, graphics, sculpture, installation and video art by artists throughout the country are on display in downtown Hanoi.

The show reflects the contemporary art life of the country in the past five years.

Titled the Vietnam Fine Arts Exhibition, the event has gathered over 3,500 works by more than 1,380 artists after six months. The jury has selected nearly 30 of the best works for prizes including six second prizes, 11 third, and 12 consolation prizes.

Vuong Duy Bien, former deputy culture minister and chairman of the jury, said they found it difficult to decide the prize-winning works as the talents of contributing artists are almost at the same level.

“Though there are no distinguished young talents and no first prizes awarded in all categories, the works this time have been more professional than in previous years,” he said.  

Sculptor Le Lang Luong, a member of the Sculpture Art Council at the event, said we can see more and more different viewpoints in creating art works: from realistic trends, modern forms, to abstract and minimalism.

Sculptor Nguyen Xuan Tien, another member of the sculpture council, noted that there have been no works really impressing viewers and reflecting a comprehensive view of Vietnamese sculpture over the past few years.

Sculptor Doan Van Bang, another member of the council, said the event has failed to attract artists who have actively worked in the field.

“A big question to organisers for the next event is how they should attract great names,” he said. “They should consider the size of the prize to gather proper names. The audience always expects to see works with fresh creative ideas.”

According to professor and painter Le Anh Van, a member of the Painting Art Council, though the event lacked popular names, the exhibited works still reflect a part of creative desire and the findings in expressive language of the artists in front of changes of society and technology.

Researcher and art critic Phan Cam Thuong explains why great names did not attend the event.

“From 1995 to present, there have been more individual and collective exhibitions organised, where popular artists have been invited, than in the previous period. Besides, artists are often free in creating and thinking, they do not like being judged by certain criteria. Popular names now tend to follow commercial trends rather than pure art with individual and distinctive characteristics.

"That’s why the national event every five year has attracted fewer and fewer popular names. I think instead of waiting for artists to join, organisers should invite the most influential ones so that the event reflects the best domestic fine arts situation in five year's time.”

The exhibition will run at the Vietnam Culture, Art and Exhibition Centre, No 2 Hoa Lư street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi till December 10 before moving to HCM City’s Fine Arts Museum, 79A, Pho Duc Chinh street, District 1 between December 22 and 29.

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