From July 15, 2023, Vincom Center for Contemporary Art (VCCA) is pleased to present the solo exhibition "Ethereal Scapes" by artist Ha Manh Thang, one of the prominent faces of Vietnamese abstract painting with his own unique imprint in visual language and compositional style.
“Ethereal Scapes” is a collection of 37 landscape-themed artworks, made in the past five years. For this exhibition, titled Ethereal Scapes, the artist continues his musing on the metaphorical expressivity in landscape, the meeting point between external perception (landscape in reality) and internal projection (the essence of landscape as captured and processed through the artist’s psyche), through his on-canvas experimentation with Abstraction.
The works of Hà Mạnh Thắng mark a shift in the ways he experiments with abstraction, vested in a passionate determination that is concealed under a texture of criss-crossing, superimposed materials. In addition to materials that exude viscosity and plasticity like oil paint and acrylic, Thắng also intersperse on canvas materials that are photoreflexive (gold leaf), creating a rough and lacerated texture (charcoal powder), or sharp-edged waves and wrinkles (exposed copper plate). Each material that Thắng selects has lent their essence to his abstraction of landscapes, revealing a new identity and function within the materials themselves.
The juxtaposition of ephemeral silk and corporeal canvas as the adhesive base for materials also implies a harmony between yin and yang, a symbolic touch that points toward how everything exists and circulates through life. In Thắng’s installation series, figuration does not take place on canvas, but rather on the shaping of its frame. The canvases are now stretched on a stele-shaped frame, placed reverently on old wooden tables, evoking a somber ambience that inhabits the inner altar of a temple.
The yin-yang balance has created a situation for Thắng’s abstract landscapes to emerge: in between the opposition of silk and canvas, of fixedly-formed frame and dynamic colors en toile, the artist has invoked landscapes that rest somewhere between dream and reality, the visible and the unfigurable.
Abstraction here does not equate the elimination of figures: the figurative elements in landscape have been molded and processed through materials, texture, and installation to convey the spirit of abstraction in poetry, which are also present as engraved verses on the back of the frame, as subtle indications for the unending inspiration in Hà Mạnh Thắng’s experimental journey.
Hà Mạnh Thắng said: “The process of abstraction in landscape painting, based partially on the inspirations from gushi (old-style Chinese poems), has helped me expand my visual boundaries, the dimensions of space, stretching to eternity, and towards a diversity of expression means. This brings my works closer to the state of freedom and wholeness in gushi.
Landscape is the life that we live in, transpiring and fading in front of our eyes. Yet, life is also a long dream with many scenes that alternate between landscape/dream - real/unreal.
[…] I always believe that art is a way for me to connect history, time, and memories. Art, to me, can help us cross through each layer of time and space, of different landscapes, in order to see and reflect on ourselves”.
*Quoted from the writing “Abstract rendition of Landscapes in Hà Mạnh Thắng's Ethereal Scapes” by curator Duong Manh Hung
“ETHEREAL PLACES” EXHIBITION
Opening: 4p.m – 9p.m, July 15, 2023
Duration: July 16 to July 31, 2023
Time: 10a.m to 9p.m everyday
Vincom Center for Contemporary Art (VCCA)
B1–R3, Vincom Mega Mall Royal City, 72A Nguyễn Trãi str., Thanh Xuân District, Hà Nội
Contact: [email protected]