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Traces of Movement, Memory and Heritage in Duo Exhibition 'Entrusting to Emptiness'

An exhibition that brings the audience through the transition between day and night, and movements between dream and memories. There is no beginning and no end, and all elements above somehow reflect the cycle of our existence.

Installation view of “Entrusting to Emptiness,” now on view at Wiking Salon.

Organized by Wiking Salon and Galerie BAQ, “Entrusting to Emptiness” (Kỳ Thác Hư Không) is a duo exhibition featuring more than 25 works by artists Tôn Thất Minh Nhật and Tuyền Nguyễn. These series of silk and lacquer paintings make up two different segments of the exhibition, where the audience will find themselves following the traces of movement, memory and heritage.

Upon entering the exhibition, one encounters ‘In Fluctuance’ (Chênh Vênh), a series of silk paintings by Tuyền Nguyễn (born 1990), with double-sided paintings hung alternatively to fill the empty space. The artist’s personal reflections and narratives are beautifully illustrated with soft but solid brushstrokes, with mazes of colours flowing across the painting.

Tuyền Nguyễn's ‘In Fluctuance’ series.

The human figures featured in Tuyền Nguyễn's paintings are like silhouettes from our dreams that live through various stages of emotions, fading away and slowly turning into past memories. We may not completely understand what exactly happens within the realm of these works; however, the flow of movements gives us a sense of what dreams and illusions look like when we are half asleep and half awake, with memories that continue living in our minds.

In Fluctuance #1 (2024). 80 x 120 cm. Watercolour and acrylic on silk.

Moving onto the next segment of the exhibition, one enters a different world of lacquer paintings by Tôn Thất Minh Nhật (born 1982). He draws inspirations from traditional temple architecture, communal houses, and royal structures of his home. By applying layer after layer onto his works, he creates structures that make up the “frame” of each painting, emphasizes the depth that each layer of black lacquer can possess, and gives us the illusion of gazing at a small pond and through a window.

(From top to bottom, left to right) Sunset (2024), Night #03 (2024), Moonlight (2024), Lanterns and moon #02 (2024). 60 x 60 cm. Vietnamese lacquer (sơn ta) on wood.

In contrast with Tuyền Nguyễn’s work, where movements are flowing and occupying all dimensions, the movements in Tôn Thất Minh Nhật’s work are confined within a “frame” made of multiple layers of lacquer on the edge of each painting. These works offer a unique experience where one witnesses the sunny and rainy seasons happening through a window, and gazes at the small pond to watch the sunset giving space for the night sky with the rising moon and lanterns entering the scene in silence.

(From left to right) A Tale of Sun and Rain series #1 (2024), A Tale of Sun and Rain series #2 (2024), A Tale of Sun and Rain series #3 (2024). 80 x 60 cm. Vietnamese lacquer (sơn ta) on wood.

Two different contrasting series of paintings, like yin and yang, coexist and harmonize with each other in the same space: one is fragile and translucent, while the other one is solid and reflective. The exhibition serves as a meeting point of nature, heritage, dreams and memories. Visitors become travellers witnessing the changes of seasons, the passing of time, and the visualisation of dreams and memories in the realm of our human existence.

“Entrusting to Emptiness” (Kỳ Thác Hư Không) is now on view at Wiking Salon until July 21, 2024. More information can be found here at their Facebook page.

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