Vietnamese painters participate in ASEAN art exhibit in Bangkok

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A portrait of late Vietnamese painter Vu Dan Tan, one of the five Vietnamese artists having artworks on display in the ASEAN exhibition in Bangkok

Five acclaimed Vietnamese artists have work on display at an ASEAN contemporary visual art show in Bangkok, Thailand until March 2.

Artworks by Bui Cong Khanh, Nguyen Van Cuong, Phan Thao Nguyen, Tung Mai, and late artist Vu Dan Tan are currently showing at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) alongside works by nearly 45 other celebrated internationally-known Southeast Asian artists from three generations and eight countries in the region.

The biggest ever Southeast Asian contemporary art exhibition, produced for the Thailand Concept Context Contestation, opened on December 13 to celebrate ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) integration.

For the last two decades, Southeast Asian contemporary art has travelled the world generating universal excitement. Though diverse in its forms and in the cultural and political environments that have spawned it, Southeast Asian art of today is testament to Southeast Asia's shared regional history and 21st century solidarity, says the organizer in a statement.

Through the works of artists from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the show, presenting media of all types - interactive installation, text-based works, painting, performance, photography and sound art will investigate the close connection between conceptual approaches and social ideologies, and collective issues in Southeast Asian contemporary art of the last four decades.

The curators include Iola Lenzi from Singapore, Agung Hujatnikajennong from Indonesia, and Vipash Purichanont from Thailand.

The exhibition will also be documented by a fully-illustrated ten-essay research catalogue by the curators and other specialists, available after the opening. In addition, BACC will be hosting a weekend of free public educational talks and panel discussions by experts in the field.

Bui Cong Khanh was born in 1972 in Da Nang City and currently works in Ho Chi Minh City. His paintings, performances, sculptures and ceramics address history and contemporary society in Vietnam, particularly the increasing impact of global capital. They are often figurative and deeply personal, drawing on Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. Khanh's most recent series of works incorporate drawing into the traditional form of Vietnamese blue-and-white porcelain vases.

Vu Dan Tan (19462009), one of three Vietnamese artists to participate in the Second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery from September 1996 to January 1997, is one of the most important artists in the contemporary Vietnamese art scene. Tan founded Salon Natasha, the first private gallery in Hanoi in 1990 and the only independent exhibition space open to both art professionals and the public during 1990s.

The late painter was known for his unique and intriguing artistry of applying recycled and abandoned everyday materials to his works, such as carton boxes or discarded candy packets, which seems to have something in common with child's play and reflects his innocent and fanciful imagination. Tan's work varied in scale and medium, from collages of cigarette packets which he cut and painted, to life size temple and boat installations made from appliance boxes. His works have been widely exhibited and collected in countries including France, Australia, Germany, Finland, Japan, the United States, and Singapore.

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