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Exhibition “Oration for Ten Types of Sentient Beings”
Monday,  Jun 11, 2018,16:34 (GMT+7)

Exhibition “Oration for Ten Types of Sentient Beings”

“Oration for Ten Types of Sentient Beings”, a solo exhibition by artist Pham Tran Viet Nam curated by Tran Luong, is held in The Factory Contemporary Arts Center in HCMC’s District 2 from now until July 17, 2018, according to the website of the art center.

Oration for Ten Types of Sentient Beings exposes the conflict-laden process of psychological transformation and artistic thinking of Pham Tran Viet Nam from 2011 to 2017. He is a member of a particular generation of artists in Vietnam who challenge their training in the plastic arts, daring to experiment in scale and material that can be uniquely displayed in The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, the first purpose-built space for contemporary art in Vietnam.

Inspired by the literature Van te Thap loai Chung sinh of great author Nguyen Du (1766-1820), the title of the exhibition reflects Pham Tran Viet Nam’s frustration with an unjust world where humans are trapped in the cycle of life and death.

Demons and corpses pervade the series of paintings on the wall, drawn between 2011 and 2013. They resemble the artist’s scattered dreams and obsessions.

Between 2013 and 2017, the artist created large-scale paintings that stretch for several meters, which are suspended in mid-air in The Factory. Hung in this manner, in specific response to the architecture of the arts center, the light filters through the punctured patches of the paintings, creating shadows on the walls and floor. This transforms the two-dimensional surface of the paintings into three-dimensions, thus creating a deeper interaction between artworks and the site of The Factory.

In this exhibition, the painter turns paintings into sculpture, experimenting with a new approach to form and concept by shredding his previous paintings and reassembling to form a new canvas, using his fingers or cotton swabs to paint, subsequently puncturing the mistakes instead of erasing them.

While the scale of these large paintings may suggest a fascination with the world as a macro-system of life, the artist actually seeks to focus on the smaller details of human emotion.

His creative process flows naturally and incessantly like his own breath, which stems from his rumination on society and its injustice. Hence, re-structuring his old paintings and breathing a new life into them not only serves a concept, but it is also part of the artist’s effort to mend his inner psyche.

In these later works, viewers can perceive a subterranean movement from death and destruction to hope for return and rebirth. In some ways, Vietnam’s art synchronizes with Nguyen Du’s oration, as this great poet used a form of eulogy to steer mankind into a righteous path so they can escape from karmic retribution of reincarnation.

Oration for All Sentient Beings by Nguyen Du consists of 184 lines, divided into three main parts: the first part depicts the somber scenery of monsoon season in July, often described as solemn and silently mournful; the second part portrays in detail ten types of forsaken spirits, also the main part of the oration; the last part provides a conclusion calling for people to follow the righteous path and walk under the light of the compassionate Buddha to avoid becoming a forsaken spirit or tormented demon.

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