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Artists: Lê Thừa Tiến

Curated by: Zoe Butt

Exhibition date: This exhibition has unfortunately been canceled

The encounter between viewer and artwork has always been at the centre of Lê Thừa Tiến’s artistic practice. This ‘encounter’ desired as highly personal, a journey into ones psyche and our emotional vulnerabilities. Commanding the depths of lacquer for this exhibition, Tiến is producing a large-scale immersive installation for our ground floor gallery, where standing in front of his human-scale lacquer pieces (should we refer to them as windows, doors or walls?) you may feel a kind of liquidity in your lacquered reflection. Like there is some kind of transformation appearing in the return of your own image. And it might feel slightly eerie. Like the lacquer is trying to tell you something. It is in Tiến’s sage-like respect for the density of lacquer and its many layers of sap that you feel a genius in its handling. Within Tiến’s architectural lacquer wonders in this exhibition, there are few rendered images. And this is deliberate. The material itself so reflective that the focus, is actually, you.

Lê Thừa Tiến was born in Hue in 1964, where he continues to live and work. Trained in the arts of drawing, oil, silk and lacquer at the College of Fine Arts, Hue University during the tumultuous years of the American War (internationally referred as the Vietnam War), Tiến’s relationship to art and the memory he feels inherent to its materiality, continues to nurture his exploration of light and shadow, which has since embraced the found object, interactive/immersive installation and social engagement of particular community. For Tiến, art possesses a redemptive space for the human spirit. It is thus a practice of the excavation of self, an emptying of material attachments, an opportunity to confront the beliefs that condition the spaces we inhabit and the images we assume of ourselves.

Possessing a Master in Fine Arts in sculpture (2009) from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and having taught painting for twenty years at Hue University (1990-2010), Tien is an important member of his generation who helped usher in differing ideas of what constitutes ‘contemporary’ art in a Vietnam reeling from war, colonial occupation and ideological governmentality. Notable exhibitions include ’Silent Whisperings’, Art Vietnam, Hanoi (solo, 2018); ‘Foliage’, Vincom Center of Contemporary Art, Hanoi (2018); ‘Globe’, Metahouse, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (solo, 2011); ‘Nam Bang’, Casula Powerhouse Arts Center and Liverpool Regional Museum, Sydney (2009); amongst others.