“Thiên Hình Vạn Trạng/Metamorphosis” features 50 paintings by Nguyen Thi Mai, done with acrylic on canvas, but very much influenced by and, in the style and tradition of lacquer painting.

“Metamorphosis” refers not only to the visual transformation of Nguyen Thi Mai’s artwork, but also reflects the multifacetedness of the figures, the colors, the rhythms, and the ambience created by the combination.

The fundamental elements in Nguyen Thi Mai’s paintings comes from two sources:

1. Ideas and symbols of Vietnamese traditional culture such as ancient statues made from ceramic, porcelain or stone; sacred animals that are closely imbued in Vietnamese people’s daily life or the figures of women and mediums presented in folk paintings;

2. Her own unique color range that is so recognizable and at which audiences instantly realize who the artist is.

That is how we measure the talent of the contemporary artist in the way the original elements are continuously transformed – otherwise the artworks are just a dull replica of folk arts. From the figures of folklore to true-to-life ones of contemporary life; from basic primary colors to her own unique and skillfully created color combinations, Nguyen Thi Mai has done that superbly!

Looking at Mai’s paintings is like peering into a kaleidoscope. With just a simple movement, we see a different picture which is totally unlike the previous one. The transition does not take place at the level of the components (such as figures, colors or rhythm of an artwork) but in the melting pot of all those components. Amazingly, Mai accomplished that so effortlessly and easily, drawing in the audience’s curiosity and attention.

It is contemporary art when the traditional becomes lively in the hands of the artist!

A solo exhibition of the artist Nguyen Thi Mai

Opening: 17:00, Wednesday 20.12.2017
Exhibition duration: 20.12.2017 – 19.01.2018
Opening hours: 9h00 – 12h00; 13h00 – 17h00, Tuesday – Sunday
Address: VICAS ART STUDIO, Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, 32 Hao Nam street, Hanoi

Dr. Bui Quang Thang
Art Director/Curator, VICAS ART STUDIO
Centre for Assistance and Development of Contemporary Arts, Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies.