Painting is a relayed mission.
It is also a therapy, to unclog the mind and psyche.
Or more simply, painting is an exercise.
In the end, it is as essential as eating, sleeping, breathing, and mating!
In his solo exhibition, Pham Tran Viet Nam has used his artistic practice to challenge both common understanding, as well as traditional practices and conceptions of painting, from both East and West.
Denouncing academic standards and biological restraints, Viet Nam borrows the language of visual art as a medium to search for the dark patches of the internal world and the invisible forms of the external world. Painting here is also seen as a therapeutic method, a language to translate on behalf of other languages, all with their limitation/ improbability.
For an artist who has loved painting to the point of worship, then detested it for its disenchantment, Viet Nam’s return to this form of visual art ceases to be a counter-form to painting, but rather an integral part of this conflicting medium. This is why one cannot deduce a distant regret or a rigid etiquette in the ‘relation’ between him and art. He rubs the materials with his bare hands, and has unhesitatingly torn apart many of his large scale paintings, only to restructure the pieces to rebirth his works.
Pham Tran Viet Nam is the “Primitive* Contemporary” .
*’Primitive’ here should be seen in a novel context when combined with the ‘contemporary’ – a state of mind and practice within the current ‘contemporary’ world, rather than in the traditional discourse of ‘primitivism’ or ‘primitive art’ in the West.