Hanoi Grapevine Reviews Fragmentation of Space at L'espace

16 January 2013

"KVT Lacquered and Mapped"

Source:  http://hanoigrapevine.com/2012/01/kvt-phi-phi-thu-that-su-tuyet-voi/

I’m glad that I got back to Hanoi in time for the crush that comes with pre-Tet. I really enjoy the bustle and cold and color… and just as glad that I got back to see Oanh Phi Phi’s and Vu Kim Thu’s 

collaborative exhibition at L’Espace.  I guess we’d call it an exhibition of drawings, but whatever noun we use, the correct adjective would have to be scintillating. Now I’m pretty biased because I’m Phi Phi’s biggest fan and her delicate lacquer skins suspended throughout the airy space have drawn lots of awed wows from me.  Phi Phi always stretches the concept of traditional lacquer usage every which way, and this way at L’Espace is truly beautiful.  At times the architectural images are transparent and some fool you because the reverse image is entirely different.


Now, again, I’m pretty biased because I’ve watched with interest over the past 6 years as Thu has taken her journey with ink on paper throughout the world, adding new dimensions and maturity to her conceptual ideas each time she returns to Hanoi.  Her work on show here picks up on themes she’s explored before and adds aerial mapping to her doodling expertise.  The maps are explored in 2 dimensions and also twisted and warped to give unexpected vantage points. Some are suspended in Perspex boxes on Perspex platforms and float and sway like flat planets. I love the one in which the ‘maps’ are piled in small cubes.

Both artists have an ability to make grand statements. Who could ever forget Phi Phi’s immense ‘Specula’ or her series of lacquer coffins (both of which are on my indelible list of the ten best things Hanoi art has had to offer). Thu’s incredible adventure at Bui in 2010 after an incredibly potent residency in India was a memorable viewing adventure.

Both artists have an ability to pull back and create things that seem to come from quiet interior spaces and this exhibition is one of quiet and calm reflection.

I’m really glad that I caught it… and if you brave the gorgeous chaos that seasonally swells around us, with cumquat and peach trees bobbing up and down amidst the surging traffic, and get to L’Espace before mong mot, Jan 23, then I bet that you’ll be just as glad.

Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. 

Source: http://hanoigrapevine.com/2012/01/kvt-phi-...

Parchmentier exhibition at L'Espace, Hanoi, December-January 2011

13 December 2012

This project centers on the idea of creating a lacquer skin, a total dematerialization of the surface of lacquer as a way to extend to the possibilities of production, expression, and appreciation of son ta (natural Vietnamese lacquer) beyond geographical and cultural boundaries.

In this small and incomplete dialogue with Vũ Kim Thư’s Fragmentations of Space, I propose the metaphor of a screen or window as a framing mechanism through which we can perceive spatial and semiotic landscapes. The drawings include intimate places, highly semanticized locations, suggestions of imaginary landscapes that only exist given a frame or demarcation, and words that define the self in these locations.

Through each work, I move towards understanding the fundamental grammar of lacquer as a creative medium by breaking down its basic elements and patterns such as light, translucency, color, process, and time, setting aside its symbolic meaning and conventional uses.

Hall de L'Espace

Opening14 December, 18h00


14 December 2011 -  23 January 2012

Parchmentier, tiếng Việt

Những tác phẩm nhỏ bé và không đầy đủ được giới thiệu trong triển lãm lần này là khởi đầu cho đối thoại với các tác phẩm trong chuỗi “Không gian phân mảnh” của Vũ Kim Thư. Phi Phi mang vào cuộc đối thoại này phép ẩn dụ về một màn hình hay một chiếc cửa sổ giống như một lăng kính trụ mà thông qua đó chúng ta có thể nhìn thấy được mối tương quan giữa một phong cảnh và nhận thức chủ quan bao gồm văn hóa và bộ nhớ tập thể tạo nên không gian này. Phi Phi vẽ những nơi thân thiết, những địa điểm mang nặng hình thức và ý nghĩa, những không gian tưởng tượng chỉ tồn tại trong một khung hình hay mốc phân giới, và những từ định nghĩa bản thân tại các địa điểm này.

Dự án này tập trung vào ý tưởng tạo nên cách thức thực hiện sơn mài da, để tách rời bề mặt tranh sơn mài ra khỏi mặt vóc cứng để gợi mở khả năng sản xuất, thể hiện và sự đánh giá sơn ta vượt ra ngoài ranh giới địa lý và văn hóa.

Phi Phi hướng đến việc phân tích ngữ pháp cơ bản của sơn mài như một phương tiện sáng tạo, bằng cách chia ra từng yếu tố cơ bản như ánh sáng, màu sắc, tính trong mờ, quy trình và thời gian, tách rời sang một bên ý nghĩa tượng trưng và quy ước thường được dùng trong nghệ thuật sơn mài.

Hà Nội, tháng 12, năm 2011

Exhibition Announcement Phi Phi Oanh and Thu Kim Vu

12 December 2012

logo lespace
exhibition space and space's fragments

Institut Français de Hanoi – L’Espace

24 Tràng Tiền, Hà Nội

Tel: (84-4) 39 36 21 64




Une exposition des artistes Vu Kim Thu & Nguyen Oanh Phi Phi - 14 déc. 2011 / 23 janv. 2012 - Hall de L'Espace

Faisant l’expérience du déménagement et de l’installation, les artistes ont centré leurs travaux sur l’espace et sa déconstruction, à travers l’aventure de leurs voyages et leurs changements de lieux de vie.

Nguyen Oanh Phi Phi construit de larges installations picturales qui évoquent des espaces contemplatifs et se concentre sur la matérialité de la laque pour produire au sein de son œuvre un sentiment de rayonnement intérieur qui suscite la mémoire et la réflexion.

Vu Kim Thu laisse libre cours au processus de création, en usant d’un dessin en noir et blanc, sur de petits objets en relief comme sur de plus grandes surfaces, comme réponse à chaque destination de voyage et chaque nouvel espace qu’elle découvre. 

Vernissage :
14.12 - 18h00 
Exposition :
14.12 > 23.01

Entrée libre


Source: http://www.ifhanoi-lespace.com/programmati...

Hanoigrapevine Blurb

01 Nov 2010

"Phi Phi Oanh in China and Hanoi"

Source: http://hanoigrapevine.com/2010/11/phi-phi-oanh-in-china-and-hanoi/ 

Specula photographed in Wuhan at the Hubei Museum of Art

Specula photographed in Wuhan at the Hubei Museum of Art

Phi Phi Oanh is back from showing her Specula at the first International Lacquer Triennial in Wuhan, China.

Critically acclaimed as a groundbreaking work in contemporary lacquer, Specula brings Vietnamese lacquer to the international stage in grand fashion.

In this ambitious exhibit, the Hubei Museum of Art gathered over 46 artists working in natural lacquer from across the globe under the theme of Lacquer: Material, Process, Spirit. Congratulations Phi Phi!

Back in Hanoi she is showing some of her smaller pieces and studies at Diego Cortiza‘s Chula Home.

Check it out before November 5.

Group Show at Au Co Gallery

16 January 2010, Hanoi

I am participating in this group show at the Au Co Gallery.  It will be the last for me in Hanoi for a couple of months.  I hope you can come by and see it.


26 Jan 2010, Hanoigrapevine reviews this show...

"KVT on an Incredible Au Co journey"

Source: http://hanoigrapevine.com/2010/01/lang_enkvt-on-an-incredible-au-co-journeylang_enlang_vititlelang_vi/

I’ve just discovered a really excellent and very exciting gallery. 

It’s off Au Co, down lane 124 that leads past Tu Lien market and down to where the cumquat trees are being readied for Tet and to the drought riven dry reaches of the river and a temporary village on the banks full of ceramic pots which is an unmissable installation in itself… but if you go past the market you’ve gone about 20 meters too far. In the first lane to the right, on the left, is the Au Co Gallery.

It’s a large gallery space all on one level and if I was an artist wanting to exhibit this is where I’d want to be shown.

The exhibition, 

Paths of Self-Questioning, presents the work of ten good artists who loosely address that theme. The work is presented tremendously well. The space is so large that nothing is in too close a proximity to be lost as it bounces off another artist’s work and every exhibit is allowed to breathe its own air (a rare thing in our art scene).

My favorite from this well balanced show is The Pink Box by Nguyen Xuan Long. It’s a very strong and intellectual installation. It’s about the mad surfeit of news and current event overload that we digest daily as we sit in comfort in our pink tinged cloud cuckoo land. Powerful! And if you can get the gallery people to dim all the gallery lights and leave the pink box self illuminated you’ll be truly impressed.

Mind you it’s an intellectual show that has been very intelligently curated. When you enter the gallery and are confronted with the long paper and rock floor piece by Nguyen Son perfectly overlooked by the large canvas caligraphic triptych by Tran Nhat Thang you are completely won over.

The works on canvas by Vu Han Nguyen and La Nhu Lan are arresting and the three portrait faces emerging or submerging by Phuong Quoc Tri are overwhelming crowd pleasers in their almost 3D glory.

The wall lacquers by La Huy are attractive and complement the amazing ‘Carp Pondering the Moon’, lacquer on curved metal on a mirror, by that amazing Phi Phi Oanh.

Phi Phi’s statement that ‘we cannot see all we want to see even though it may be right in front of our eyes’ is literally reflected in the very strong minimalistic installation, ‘Delusion About Objectivity’ by Pham Tran Le which a lot of viewers will find challenging.

The gallery and its surrounds are super and I hope it becomes a vital part of the private gallery scene. I think it could give all the other top galleries a run for their money and I can hardly wait to see what’s on next.

Every artist and art lover should put Au Co and this show right on top of their must see list. It’s easy to find and absolutely top notch.

Exhibition Closing

2 January 2010


Today I dismantled Specula at the Hanoi City Exhibition Hall.  Thank you to everyone who visited this month and especially to those who left me thoughtful comments and letters.

Makeshift Exhibition Announcement

17 December 2009


Exhibition: The Japan Foundation, Hanoi, 18 - 25 December 2009

27 Quang Trung

Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

Tel: 3944 7419

Opening: Thu 17 Dec, 6 - 7 pm

The Japan Foundation cordially invites you to Phi Phi Oanh’s latest exhibition, entitled Make Shift. Using Vietnamese natural lacquer (son ta) as the basic raw materials, Phi Phi Oanh constructs large painting installations and spaces that reference eastern and western art history and its metaphysical intersections. ‘Make Shift’ is the result of her experiments using Vietnamese son ta baked on iron and recycled metal, an old industrial Japanese technique, making the work both innovative and environmentally friendly.

Before the opening there will be a talk on lacquer painting practice by Phi Phi Oanh and Japanese artist Ando Saeko from 4.30 – 5.30 pm at the Japan Foundation.

Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam


Specula Vernissage

December 4, 2009

Thank you everyone for coming and making it a lovely opening...

Some words from the US Embassador...

"...The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi is proud to sponsor the exhibition of Phi Phi Oanh’s Specula. In addition to sponsoring this show, we proudly display of some of her paintings within the Embassy collection here in Hanoi.  Not only works of great beauty, Phi Phi’s work embodies an open and forward thinking approach essential to today's interconnected world.

Born in Houston, Texas, Phi Phi Oanh came to Vietnam for the first time in 2004 after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to study the traditional art techniques of Vietnam.  Based on her research, she has developed her own unique way of working with lacquer, one that combines traditional Vietnamese techniques with Western themes and influences. 

The crossover ability showcased in Specula highlights the best of cultural exchange between the US and Vietnam and the success of the Fulbright Program.  I hope that you will enjoy Specula and let art inspire you to discover new ways of how we can grow closer as people through a variety of mediums..."

Michael W. Michalak

Embassador of the United States of America in Vietnam, 2009

Specula Exhibition Announcement

1 December 2009

After two very long years, I have finally finished Specula. The opening is next Friday, the 4th of December at 5 pm at the Hanoi City Exhibition Hall on 93 Dinh Tien Hoang. For all those in the area, I hope you can join me!


Cadastre at the Hanoi Bui Gallery

Cadastre on view at the Hanoi Bui Gallery on 23 Ngo Van So from April 7-June 6, 2009.
Comprising of 75 (20 x 20 cm) tiles, Cadastre is a floor sculpture that employs natural lacquer (son ta) and iron to faithfully represent mass-produced ceramic floor tiles used in building construction. Measuring exactly 3m2 in floor space, Cadastre visually graphs the housing space per capita allotted for one individual in a densely populated Asian city.

Inspired by the artist Carl Andre’s idea of emplacement and sculptural relativity, I reject the puritanism of the minimalist style by introducing a narrative element to portray the time worn patterns all too familiar in old Hanoi buildings.

Dramatic lighting, the golden properties of lacquer and the density of iron give the cadastre a transcendental weight.

Some reviews and articles about the show...
from the Hanoi Grapevine...
"...Phi Phi Oanh’s post modern floor tile lacquer work was the best work on show and I certainly hope that she is given a whole gallery re-exhibition of those boxes we saw in the Art Museum a couple of years ago….and of course any new work she has. I can’t help but compare her with Yoko Ono and I think she could be even better..."

from Bao Tien Phong Online