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9 June - 23 July

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ArtistTrần Kim Hoa, Hoàng Nam Việt, Xuân Hạ, Đỗ Nguyễn Lập Xuân and Yatender
Curator: Shyevin S’ng and Lê Thiên Bảo
Exhibition date: 9 June – 23 July 2017
Location: The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre
15 Nguyễn Ư Dĩ, Thảo Điền W., D.2, HCMC

The concept of ‘the self’ forms a recurrent strand throughout history. Reaching back tens of thousands of years into human history, cave paintings and petroglyphs (such as Chauvet Cave, Ardèche Valley, in France), show the roots of our innate desire to understand who we are. Self-portraiture is thus a common way for an artist to reflect and express who they are. Since the invention of photography in the 1800s, technology has influenced and challenged the way artists think about the self, as narrative and identity. The idea of ‘the self’ was no longer just a photographic likeness. Turning away from realistic representations of the human figure, artists moved increasingly towards abstraction, with a conceptual perspective.

In Vietnam, the story of abstraction and conceptual art is a relatively recent phenomenon. The development of artistic expression has been greatly impacted by the colonial influence of the French and the political upheaval of the Vietnam War. For much of the second half of the 20th Century, the visual arts in Vietnam was predominantly social realist in expression, with artists limited to particular topic and style. After Đổi Mới (economic reform) in 1986, Vietnam was flooded with new waves of information, economical exchange and cultural influences, to which artists had a chance to learn and compare different perspectives and styles of art making. Particular art initiatives, such as Blue Space in the South and Nhà Sàn in the North (founded in the 1990s), pioneered a new era for experimental art, emboldening new opportunities for local artists to play with differing ways of articulating their identity, responding to a global environment that is culturally diverse, technologically advanced, and conceptually multifaceted.

Since 1986, artists in Vietnam are increasingly finding innovative and interdisciplinary ways to express who they are today. In the exhibition “I, Me, Mine”, 5 emerging artists are featured – Trần Kim Hoa, Đỗ Nguyễn Lập Xuân, Hoàng Nam Việt, Xuân Hạ (Grandmadeadxh) and Yatender – in the newest addition to the Saigon Artbook (SGAB) canon, co-organized by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre and inpages. These artists take us on a journey, exploring the cornerstones of the ‘self’ – place, connection, appearance and perception – examining how these continually interweaving elements shape the artistic and emotional expression that becomes fundamental to human character. The audience will be drawn into diverse approaches to ‘self-expression’: from Kim Hoa’s “Bonsai” painting series and her “Women” installation capturing the complexity of womanhood via the reflection of herself in a mirror; to Lập Xuân’s “Nothingness”, a conceptual performative installation, situated between a psychology of the self in absolute reality, and a mental inquisition, where possessiveness is confronted and re-interpreted via a study of the subconscious. While Hoàng Nam Việt’s light-box installation titled “brighten up” gives three expressions of survival and self-preservation, examining the postures of one character as habit, character and perception, while Xuân Hạ’s “Virtual Realm”, a silk painting series hanging perpendicular to the wall and the animation “Immerse” whisper her introvert emotions. Yatender’s “2-1’ installation is privately displayed in a separate area of The Factory, told through film and photography via the dating app ‘Tinder’, capturing random moments of her desire to escape the narrow worldview of circumstance and reach across great distances to touch something real.

“I, Me, Mine” is a collection of ‘self-portraits’, through differing media, declaring “I exist”. Accompanying this exhibition at The Factory, the 7th Edition of Saigon Artbook continues their commitment to publishing with a dedicated and lovingly crafted exhibition catalog with an experimental printing technique. This book will be launched on the 17th June, at the first artist talk which kicks off two months of associated public programs designed to investigate the artistic preoccupations behind ‘I, Me, Mine’

For more information please contact

The Factory: art@factoryartscentre.com | +84 (0)8 3744 2589

inpages: long@inpages.org | +84 (0) 126 550 2088

All artworks are available for sale.

Saigon Artbook (SGAB) is first and foremost a community project by inpages – independent publisher& art bookstore, develops and showcases uncut work of emerging artists in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam on a stage that is supported by a talented cast of designers, writers and curators. Since 2013, SGAB has independently published more than 3,000 artbooks over seven editions and held multiple exhibitions, workshops and art talks with the aim of making art more accessible and engaging.


inpages is an independent publisher and art bookstore founded in 2016, based in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. Our mission is to create a platform for young artists to develop their skills and show their work, with a special emphasis on producing books with Vietnamese artists. It is our desire to promote indie-publishing culture within the local community from our unique art bookstore, through showcasing only a thoughtful collection of international art books that we love. inpages also works to curate artistic events, exhibitions, artist talks and workshops both in Saigon and elsewhere.



b.1980, HCMC, Vietnam

Contemplative and often inward looking, Kim Hoa spends most of her time grappling with questions of identity and attempting to project her reflection on other people’s images as well as map their shadows onto hers. Raw physicality contains infinite pleasures for the artist. Kim Hoa savours especially the rough edges, lumps and bumps of the human body, her quick sketches capturing the memory and experience of interaction. Her artworks focus on the influence of environment, education and lifestyle on one’s features and appearance.   For Hoa, apparent ‘distortions’ are testimony of a life in its trajectory; all shapes tell a story. Despite being trained in the art of lacquer painting, Hoa often produces in her artistic practice oils on canvas, charcoal sketches, watercolors and pastels on paper, because of the freedom she perceives these mediums afford her.


b.1986, HCMC, Vietnam

Lap-Xuan lives and works in HCMC. Underpinning both her art and personal ethic is a belief in the intangible and heartfelt connections between people. Lap-Xuan’s reality is not objective or static but one of flux, complexity and ever-shifting sensibility. The overarching preoccupation of her art is with liminality – the tacit ambiguity of the experience of selfhood, as it operates in both mind and environment. Her work challenges the boundaries of artistic documentation and can be alternatively thought of as a social experiment juggling variables of individual voices. Each of her works invites the viewer to participate in a sensory experience, to write his own part and in turn, open up new and intimate dialogues. Her current body of work encompasses sculpture, drawing, installation, performance and time-based media.


b.1985, HCMC, Vietnam

A self-taught artist based in HCMC, Hoang Nam Viet has experimented in different mediums and with various disciplines. His art is evocative, physical and ever-evolving. His inspiration comes from everyday scenes and is given shape by his own subjective sensibility and philosophical ethic. An entrepreneur, dreamer and artist, Nam Viet pulls from different spheres of life and a multitude of experiences the raw material with which to create art. Hoang has participated in several group exhibitions in HCMC including Chung (Pongdang Gallery, 2014), Out of Nowhere (Sao La, 2014), Art Walk (numerous venues, 2015), and The Primacy of Drawing (Dia Projects, 2015).


b.1993, Danang, Vietnam

Xuân Hạ is a filmmaker, artist and emerging curator currently based in Saigon. Since 2015, she has been actively working with Vietnamese and foreign artists, curating and producing exhibitions that focus on interactive and installation art.  Her work takes as its inspiration the multitude of qualities, realities, bodies and identities that simultaneously exist within and around herself, as they do with all the women in her life, from family members to her girlfriend. These multifaceted characteristics and foundations of self are for the artist fascinating and irresistible.


b.1988, HCMC, Vietnam

Yatender moved her practice to photography after a career in graphic design, to confront head on the incessant emotional turbulence simmering just beneath the surface. Her artistic ethos, drive and work are highly personal in nature. She is pursuing an experimental approach to inquire and attune, both within and without, through the art of capturing images behind the lens. Yatender’s film photography is documentary in style, capturing fleeting moments to savour again at a later date. This frees her up to live fully in the present, with the knowledge that nothing beautiful is lost, only perhaps transformed, through the capricious tendency of both film and memory.

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9 June
23 July
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