Makeshift in the Press

20 Dec 2009



If boutique as an adjective implies intimate, luxurious, or quirky and all or any of these applied to a small space then Phi Phi Oanh’s new exhibition Make Shift at the Japan Foundation wins on all counts. If the adverbs themed, stylish and aspirational are added to Phi Phi’s boutique exhibition then it is described even more aptly.

If you visit the small gallery only to revisit or become acquainted with the super fabulous floor piece first seen at the opening of the Bui Gallery in March then you will have seen one of the best bits of art seen in Hanoi this year… or any year… lacquer on steel.

Then if you fall in love with the round steel drum lid that has been lavishly lacquered with a traditional Vietnamese meal appetizingly laid out then who can blame you! I really aspire it as an actual table piece. I’d somehow cover it with glass and use it for intimate meals… I’m all in favour of good art being put to functional uses. The small and quirky bucket installation is really delightful and the brick panels are a luxurious rendition of the plain, tatty, everyday and ordinary. Marvelous!

Catch it while you can. It’s as good as Christmas.

PS: purists feel free to tackle my boutiqued use of grammatical terminologies.

Not a reviewer, not a critic, “Kiếm Văn Tìm” is an interested, impartial and informed observer and connoisseur of the Hanoi art scene who offers highly opinionated remarks and is part of the long and venerable tradition of anonymous correspondents.