Venus in Vietnam art show travels to HCMC

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Delicate cardboard suits and miniature installations of female figures  by late artist Vu Dan Tan

The internationally renowned collection Venus in Vietnam by late artist Vu Dan Tan (1946 2009) will hit Ho Chi Minh City this coming weekend to stand juxtaposed with works from a younger rising artist.

The installation and sculptural works by Tan will be displayed together with works by artist Nguyen Nghia Cuong at the city's Fine Arts Museum from Jan 11 24 with a focus on the image of femininity. "Venus in Vietnam" compares and contrasts the works of two Hanoi artists a generation apart.

Originally organized in 2012 in the capital of Hanoi by Goethe Institute and curated by Iola Lenzi in collaboration with Vu Dan Tan Foundation, the critically acclaimed Venus in Vietnam exhibition marks the first ever curated institutional presentation of seminal contemporary artist Vu Dan Tan in the south.

This time, the collection will be paired with works by young artist Nguyen Nghia Cuong.

Tan, whose multi-media cross-disciplinary practice broke new ground in the 1980s with its playful and conceptual use of found materials, is a leading artists of Vietnam's post-doi moi scene.

The internationally-exhibited series Venus in Vietnam, which features delicate cardboard suits and miniature installations of female figures in glass-lidded cigarette boxes, is still relatively unknown in Vietnam.

Whereas, Nguyen Nghia Cuong (b. 1973), a graduate of Vietnam Fine Arts University, is known for his ironic approach to contemporary reality, dominated by consumerism and brand-culture. Here he presents his recent painted card box series Beauty High Quality investigating the intersection between popular culture, advertising, and life and society.

The show focuses on these two themes' expanded meaning in the social and cultural context of late twentieth century-early 21st century Vietnam. Vu Dan Tan's key works of the last decade, juxtaposed with new works by Nguyen Nghia Cuong, together offer a so far little-explored but historically relevant perspective on the role played by gender, sexuality and woman in Vietnamese visual art at the turn of the century.

Venus in Vietnam: Vu Dan Tan and Nguyen Nghia Cuong is documented by a comprehensively illustrated catalogue including an essay by Southeast Asian contemporary art specialist Iola Lenzi, a researcher and a frequent curator of Vu Dan Tan.

An art talk in English with Vietnamese translation will be presented by artist Nguyen Nghia Cuong and curators Natalia Kraevskaia and Iola Lenzi at 3:30pm on Jan 12.

Admission is free

HCMC Fine Arts Museum is located on 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1.

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