Landscape dreams open up new vistas amid constraining times

By Linh Do   December 21, 2020 | 05:55 pm PT
Landscape dreams open up new vistas amid constraining times
Vo Tran Chau’s 2019 “Tra Co Cathedral,” a fabric recycling of old clothes, explores the human context embedded in any landscape. Photo by VnExpress/Linh Do.
A new exhibition space in Hanoi attempts to fill voids caused by a movement-fettering pandemic with a show titled “Dreaming about Landscapes.”

Mo Art Space, the exhibition venue in downtown Hanoi, has brought together 29 diverse landscape paintings and artworks by 22 Vietnamese artists and the late French painter Alix Aymé.

The artworks on display represent six different genres in landscape paintings: historical landscapes where nature serves as the background for history, picturesque landscapes that extol natural sublimity, imaginative landscapes evoking greater cosmic forces, socio-political landscapes where natural scenes take on social and political meanings, romantic landscapes where the portrayal is small and intimate, and digital landscapes where material space loses its moorings to technological devices.

From realistic photograph light boxes to abstract mirror paintings, the exhibition is an ambitious journey that goes from literal external locations through internal spatial memories of younger artists to outer space where travel can go back in time.

Artist Le Giang’s imaginative two-piece work of gouache and ink on Chinese Xuyen Chi paper and linen titled "The Vista" captures unspecific water landscapes; while Nguyen Linh Chi’s mirror paintings, "Lakes," provoked by Hanoi’s disappearing water resources, highlights water as an essential natural element.

Also reflecting contemporary artistic concerns about the environment, Vo Tran Chau, who comes from a family of traditional embroiderers, recycled old clothes and sewed up a spectacular tapestry of the Tra Co Cathedral in northern Quang Ninh Province, a colonial architectural vestige, to suggest the social and political context underpinning any landscape.

"Dreaming about Landscapes" runs from December 19 until January 23 at Mo Art Space, 136 Hang Trong Street.

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