[Hanoi] Me, the art noob, attended a solo exhibition opening party

Gosh can’t believe how artsy I am.

(Jk…I can’t even draw a stickman)

“Into Darkness” – A solo exhibition by Vu Kim Thu at manzi

Opening: 6.30pm Friday 06 May 2016

At 5.30pm 06 May 2016: this is how I left my house. Dark makeup and unusual clothes, because I’m gonna meet the artists. So I better look more like one of them. (Sorry to my friends who are doing Arts, but you guys really have a distinctive style compared to the rest of us noobs).

I arrived at Manzi soon afterwards. I picked up my paper and was offered a recyclable cup of drink. I really thought I was given fruit juice haha. But no it turned out to be a cup of red sangria. Nice.
And because I attended the opening, there were people from VTV (Vietnam Television – the national broadcasting company) filming and interviewing. Then there I was, hiding behind the back of the camera guy, making sure I won’t be on the TV haha. This moment was after Thu and her partner had given the toast. I forgot to take the photo of them. 😦 So you can’t see the people behind all these amazing works. 😦

Okay, anyways…

Vu Kim Thu was born in 1976 in Hanoi, graduated her BFA from Hanoi University of Fine Arts in 1999 and her MFA from the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago, United States in 2003. Thu has participated in a number of residencies worldwide including Vermont Studio Center (US), Goyang National Art Studio (Korea), Sanskriti Kendra (India), Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen (Germany), McColl Center of Visual Art (US), Rockefeller Bellagio Center (Italy), Museum of Contemporary Art A Coruna (Spain). -> How awesome is it?

In the past 3 years, Thu was interested in Japanese culture and her studies of Washi paper leads her to new experimentation with paper sculpture and lighting based on her current experience in 3 residencies in Japan: Kamiyama Artists in Residence Program, Mino Paper Art Village and Sapporo Artist in Residence Program.

(Which leads us to *drum rolls please*)

“Into darkness” is the outcome of Thu’s continuous experimentation in combining Japanese Washi with Vietnamese Dzó Paper, and line drawing with lighting. The project-in-progress started in 2013 with Kim Thu’s residency at Mino Paper Art Village (Mino, Japan) where she learnt the art of Washi and lantern. It later developed into a light installation at her 2014 residency at Sapporo Artist in Residence Program (Hokkaido, Japan). The artist’s 2015 experimentation with the project at ECO Art Project (Muong Art Studio, Hoa Binh, Vietnam) saw her including elements of space and light design.

She said “My world is a miniature world. It consists of landscape, nature, architecture and abstract mark making and line drawing. It forms a 3D map, possibly of a city, possbly an imaginary one. These images change as I arrive at a new destination, and as my personal experience and impression of that place begin to form. As a traveller, I navigate a new city by synthesizing its repeated forms, fragmentation, and architectural spaces with memory and observation. I reimagine the place in the form of a map and with my personal visualization. I start with one small detail by creating a mark – one that never stops spreading outwards. And from there, the city keeps growing and growing…”

Now you can take a virtual tour with me around the gallery. (Excuse my bad photographing skills, I was rather shy when there were so many people there :<)

First, I would like to mention my absolute absolute favorite installation. It’s called SOWETO (2016). Soweto is a township in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. This is the installation that stood out among others. ❤ It’s priced at 500 USD.

City #5 (2016), 400 USD

The world in a tea bowl (2016), 1000 USD.

The hidden city #4 (2016), 500 USD

The hidden city #1 (2016), 400 USD

The City #6 (2016), 800 USD

The City #7 (2016), 500 USD with close-up looks

The City #4 (2016), 400 USD and it’s other side

The hidden city #2 (2016), 400 USD

The hidden city #4 (2016), 400 USD

The City #6 (2016), 800 USD

Wew if you have read until here, please give me a clap. It’s really hard to identify the pieces. I hope I didn’t misidentify any. My limited knowledge only shows me that The Hidden City series are those with holes on them, Soweto is easy to identify, the tea bowl also easy, and the rest are in The city series. Yay.

It was VERY cool to keep my eyes close to the pieces, and look around at the inner edges and corners of the papers. The inside of the installations are drawn with intricate patterns to show the houses and the life in the cities (I don’t know which cities they are supposed to be, hit me up if you know). I will not have enough money to start collecting arts for a few decades (life when you aim to finish PhD…). :< I’m sad I can’t have the pieces.

Lastly, I think my photos didn’t serve the exhibition justice. So if you happen to be in Hanoi, from 06 to 31 May 2015, drop by Manzi 14 Phan Huy Ich, Hanoi. Free entry and you can see wonders, just like I did.


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