RiverScapes IN FLUX Blog

RiverScapes Blog
Welcome to the Goethe-Institut RiverScapes Blog. Coordinated by Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 6 curators and 17 artists from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines have been working on the subject of ecological and cultural change of major river landscapes in Southeast Asia, creating installations, photo series, video and sound installations. Riverscapes INFLUX Blog followed the artists’ working process and gives an insight on how the artworks evolved. The exhibition has been shown in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, and will now tour the other participating countries until March 2013.



 » Tran_Luong
Tran Luong

born in 1960, is a visual artist and curator from Vietnam. He finished his studies at the Hanoi College of Fine Arts in 1983; in the same year, he founded the artist collective Gang of Five. His progressively abstract works have been showcased in group exhibitions in at the Goethe-Institut Hanoi, Vietnam; the Museum of the Tropics in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art 2002, England; and the Fukuoka Asian Biennal, Japan. For about ten years, Luong has also been concentrating on installations and performative art, which much like his paintings draw from experiences and problems in his own life, for example the loss of traditional values which his generation is confronted with. In 2000, Luong founded the Contemporary Art Centre in Hanoi, which he represented as art director until the end of 2003. He is considered to be the most important mediator of contemporary art in Vietnam; he has organized various workshops for young artists and has curated performance festivals and exhibitions, among others in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Hanoi.

Weeping Rivers
For thousands of years now, rivers have been integral to mankind’s development. The heart-melting beauty of riverscape has nurtured mankind’s feelings and souls.

Riverscape IN FLUX is a complex arts project, a marriage between an academic arts project and a social development project.

The floating fate of “Đờn ca tài tử” started in the ancient capital of Hue more than 400 years ago, taking root and over time becoming a cultural spirit iconic to the Mekong river delta. However, it is now being heavily affected by changes to the traditional living environment and the deformation of the relationship between mankind and rivers. The sound artwork Vòng tròn đen (Black Circle) by Luong Hue Trinh is about an uncertain love story happening under such eventful circumstances.

Schools of catfish fillet, swim one after another into a flow on a drying machine, creating an impressive exotic image. From another, more direct view of the Mekong Delta, the artwork by Phan Thi Thao Nguyen presents a deep conflict between natural and cultural environment and economic development objectives, reflecting the unusual coldness of industrialized life in a catfish processing factory.

The Son’s artwork reflects an old time propaganda slogan in a typical POP style, represented in a contemporary popular culture. The first part of the artwork is ironic, in contrast with the second part, which is about the cold reality represented in an academic photographic language. Viewers can’t but question the choice between sustainable shared universal benefits vs. selfish possession by individual countries in sharing natural resources.

The installation piece by Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai using 3 cubic meters of shoes and slippers collected after many floods in Thua Thien Hue is a reflection of increasingly severe natural disasters happening in the land of hardship. The structure of the cube-shaped boxes of shoes and slippers arranged in an orderly manner reminds viewers of a solemn memorial to the dead. The shoes and slippers, quiet and modest, are so powerful in telling us about the fates of those who once wore them.

Apart from combining arts with real life experiences, what stands out about contemporary arts as a trend in general and about the artworks in this project in particular is the attitude of artists as responsible citizens!



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Sponsor and exclusive Logistic Partner of Riverscapes IN FLUX Exhibition Tour in Southeast Asia