#LANDSCAPE / MINDSCAPE# by Ha Manh Thang at Galerie Quynh

General Press Releases Thursday October 10, 2019 17:23
Bangkok--10 Oct--Total Quality PR
Galerie Quynh is pleased to present Landscape | Mindscape, an exhibition of new work by Ha Manh Thang, one of Vietnam's most accomplished painters. This is Ha's third solo exhibition at the gallery.

Consisting of mixed media paintings on canvas, silk, and paper, the work, inspired by the artist's extensive collection of Vietnamese antiques, evokes the change of the seasons, and the mixture of melancholia and awe experienced when viewing the remains of beautiful ruins.

Ha first began collecting antiques in 2002 while he was a student at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts, and he has never stopped, filling his light-bathed studio with exquisite lacquer and pearl-inlaid woodwork, glazed pottery, and ancient statuary from the antique shops of Hanoi. Ha's work has always approached traditional Vietnamese craft and culture with a contemporary sensibility and an expressionistic flare. While earlier series followed the visual logic of the architectural blueprint or the landscape, depicting whole buildings and lakes in their entirety, the new work follows the logic of the still life, depicting antique objects in toto, or focusing on particular motifs appearing therein.

Notably, the new series includes several studies of a lotus shaped pedestal – a specific item from the artist's collection, carved in wood in the early 17th to the 18th century during the Le Dynasty. Time and again he painted this lotus pedestal, which once served as a support for a statue of the Buddha, yet which now remains vacant, symbolically evoking the material foundations of spiritual belief as well as the erosion of history with the passage of time. Rendered both on paper and on canvas, the works on paper start off fairly straightforward, showing the lotus petals around the edges, and the vacant socket in the center. However, these studies become increasingly abstracted with each iteration until, in the ultimate painting of this subject on canvas, the pedestal has been reduced to a dark and blurry shadow, a withered ghost of what once represented purity.

The lotus pedestal studies are the most obviously representational works in the show while other works drift deeper into abstraction, subtly evoking images of trees and waves, drawn from such sources as lacquer boxes and pearl-inlaid panels. Most of the paintings were rendered on canvas, but in a new development, Ha has introduced silk into some of his works. By letting his thick impasto brushwork subside over the silk portions, the light is allowed to pass through, casting shadows on the wall behind and drawing the viewer deeper into the paintings.

Moving from the external landscape to the internal mindscape, the starting points from which Ha paints fade into obscurity, and in their place, sensations arise. The chill of a Hanoi winter's night, or the morning light breaking through the trees in spring: these subjects are not depicted so much as evinced, inviting us to experience the perspective of an artist who paints not just what he sees, but what he feels: bittersweet beauty amidst decay.

Educational programming at Galerie Quynh
Artist Talk by Ha Manh Thang
Saturday, the 5 October, 4:30 – 6pm
This talk will be in Vietnamese with English translation.
Please contact the gallery if you would like more information on our education programs.
Notes on the exhibition
Artist: Ha Manh Thang
Exhibition Title: Landscape | Mindscape
Exhibition Dates: October 3 – November 2, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, 3 October from 6:30 – 8:30pm
Venue: Galerie Quynh
118 Nguyen Van Thu, Dakao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Contact: Ms. Nguyen Xuan Lan – lan@galeriequynh.com
Telephone: +84 28 3822 7218
Hours: 10am – 7pm, Tuesday – Saturday, and by appointment

Ha Manh Thang's work is a poetic meditation on the passage of time, memory and place. His paintings speak to viewers about mindfulness and the vicissitudes of life. Seeped through with a quiet lyricism informed by Ha's interests in Western jazz and classical East Asian poetry, and inspired just as much by chance encounters as elaborate conceptual starting points, his paintings are, in the artist's words, 'attempts to better understand oneself in relation to nature, and to express what one cannot grasp'. Born in 1980 in Thai Nguyen Province, Ha is one of Vietnam's most important painters. Ha has been featured alongside acclaimed artists such as Gerhard Richter, Marlene Dumas and Peter Doig in several international publications including 'Painting Now' (Thames and Hudson, 2015) and 'Painting Today (Phaidon, 2009). Ha has held a number of notable regional and international exhibitions including Pueblos en Resistencia, 1 Bienal del Sur, Caracas, Venezuela; Instruments of Meditation: Works of Art from the Zoltán Bodnár Collection, Reoek Palace, Budapest, Hungary; Connect: Kunstzene Vietnam, ifa Galleries, Berlin and Stuttgart, Germany; The rain and the small stream presented by Ernst & Young's Asean Art Outreach program, Singapore; and Post-Doi Moi: Vietnamese Art After 1990, Singapore Art Museum. Ha Manh Thang's work is collected by public and private collections around the world including National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; Post-Vi Dai Collection, Geneva, Switzerland and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam; and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam. Ha currently lives and works in Hanoi.


Recognized as Vietnam's leading contemporary art gallery, Galerie Quynh has been promoting contemporary art practice in the country for over two decades. The gallery is known internationally for its consistently focused programming and educational initiatives. Working with a select group of emerging, mid-career and established Vietnamese artists, the gallery also exhibits the work of distinguished artists from around the world. In keeping with its mission to develop a sustainable ecosystem for the arts in Vietnam, the gallery collaborates with artists, curators, museums and art spaces locally and internationally to organize talks and lectures as well as to produce publications in English and Vietnamese. In May 2014 the gallery founded the non-profit educational initiative Sao La. Currently spearheaded by Dalat-based artists Nguyen Kim To Lan and Nguyen Duc Dat, Sao La comprises a young, diverse group of passionate creatives working loosely as a collective.

A new chapter began in December 2017 when the gallery moved to a 600 square-meter space in Dakao, District 1. Spread over four floors, the gallery is able to produce more ambitious programming and play an even more vital role in the cultural community in Vietnam.


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