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Speaker: Phoebe Scott
Date: 13 July 2019
Time: 4 – 6pm
Language: English with Vietnamese translation

Phi Phi Oanh’s work is characterised by an experimental and conceptual approach to Vietnamese lacquer, especially through her radical re-imagining of the material possibilities of the vóc (the wooden substrate traditionally used for lacquer painting). But how does her work relate to the history of modern Vietnamese lacquer painting? Phoebe Scott proposes that Vietnamese lacquer painting was a modern invention which was itself highly experimental, and part of a process of open dialogue with sources from within Vietnam and abroad. The development of lacquer painting was influenced by new ideas within Vietnamese modernity, as well as by an interest in the unusual material qualities inherent to the lacquer medium. By looking at the conceptual shifts surrounding lacquer painting in the 1930s, Phoebe Scott will share how Phi Phi Oanh’s work can be understood in light of this longer history.

Phoebe Scott is a curator at the National Gallery Singapore. In 2017, she curated the exhibition Radiant Material: A Dialogue in Vietnamese Lacquer Painting, which featured a 1930s lacquer painting by Nguyễn Gia Trí in dialogue with a special commission by Phi Phi Oanh. Phoebe also co-curated Reframing Modernism: Painting from Southeast Asia, Europe and Beyond (2016), a collaborative exhibition with the Centre Pompidou, as well as the inaugural exhibition of the Southeast Asia galleries at National Gallery Singapore, Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century (2015). Phoebe is also an adjunct lecturer in art history at the National University of Singapore. Prior to joining National Gallery Singapore, she completed her PhD at the University of Sydney on the subject of modern Vietnamese art.


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