Gang Of Five


Gang of Five is a group of Hanoi painters who rose to prominence in the early 1990s in Vietnam. Composed of five members: Hồng Việt Dũng, Hà Trí Hiếu, Đặng Xuân Hoà, Trần Lương and Phạm Quang Vinh, they are perceived as amongst the most promising artists of their generation, and the first group to gain international acclaim in post-Doi Moi Vietnam[1]. Gang of Five are known for creating bold works conceptually depicting personal emotion as well as exploring different forms of artistic expressions (in terms of theme, colour palette, materials) that departed from the Social Realist tradition in Vietnamese art prevalent until the mid 1980’s.

Stemming from what was initially a large group of young graduates in the early 1980s (from the University of Fine Art and the University of Industrial Fine Art), the Gang of Five were most active with their independent artistic careers. They carried on painting tirelessly after finishing their day jobs; arranged frequent gatherings at home to discuss art, commenting on each other’s works, and facilitating conversations that sustained their passion for painting. Their first public debut as a group of five young artists was in 1990 in an exhibition commemorating Vincent Van Gogh at Gallery No. 7 Hang Khay (Hanoi). Shortly afterwards, the group received their ‘rebellious’ nickname[2] and became known as the Gang of Five in 1993 after showing together at the premise of the Fine Art Association (no. 16 Ngo Quyen). Following their official inauguration, each member attended to different pursuits – with Trần Lương’s emergence as a contemporary visual artist and curator; Phạm Quang Vinh’s further development in the publishing industry; Hồng Việt Dũng, Hà Trí Hiếu and Đặng Xuân Hoà’s establishment in their own specific areas of the art scene and in the international market. They remain close friends and colleagues, regrouping again in late 2015. Dubbed by their senior and mentor Nguyễn Quân as ‘bè lũ năm tên’ and translated into English by Dương Tường as the ‘Gang of Five’ – a name that was inspired by, but didn’t have any core affiliation with the political Gang of Four in China

[1] Referring to the structural Economic Reform introduced in 1986, which transformed Vietnam both economically and socially.


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